Lay kinship solidarity and papal law
in Law, laity and solidarities
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact for pricing options.


If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

Medieval kinship structures varied according to period and region. In the course of the Middle Ages, however, a unitary kinship system was increasingly imposed on the laity by the church. This chapter aims to answer some precise questions about the rationality of this kinship system. Like most good questions about rationality, these are ultimately derived from Max Weber. Firstly, the chapter talks about the surface rationale propagated by the church. The distinction between 'instrumental rationality' and 'value rationality' seems to me especially useful for the study of kinship rules. In Weber's conceptual scheme these two kinds of rationality were complementary. The 'four degrees' rule may have been irrelevant to England, but in Italy and in other areas, where clans were the norm, the kinship law regulated by the popes was a powerful force for lay solidarity.

Law, laity and solidarities

Essays in honour of Susan Reynolds


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 30 30 4
Full Text Views 1 1 1
PDF Downloads 3 3 3