Special Issue "The Balkan Family in the 20th Century"

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778). This special issue belongs to the section "Family History".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Petko Hristov
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Interests: labor migrations on the Balkans; social networks; social structure; family and kinship; identity, ritual process; traditional religiousness; political anthropology
Prof. Dr. Maria Todorova
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Interests: historical demography; family history; modernity; nationalism; socialism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The intense and dynamic social processes of the past 20th century have led to radical changes in the family models and notions of kinship inherited from the pre-modern era. The prolific scholarly discussion on the nature and characteristics of what a number of authors have called the “Balkan Family Pattern” during the 1990s led to the rethinking of a number of stereotypes and clichés about family structure and gender ideology in the Balkans, established in previous decades. Above all, it has become clear that the Hajnal line between Sankt Petersburg and Trieste, used by a number of historians, demographers, and political scientists to justify not only peculiarities of social structure and gender divisions, but also cultural peculiarities of the Balkan peoples, unduly generalizes and neglects the diversity of family structure in different regions of the Balkans. The main characteristics of the central Serbian village of Orašac are not valid for Cernik in Croatia or to the Ruse region in Northern Bulgaria. The active discussion in the 1990s stimulated a number of young local researchers to focus their studies on family structure and kinship among the different Balkan peoples. Moreover, the focus of the discussion shifted from historical demography, strongly influenced by the Cambridge School founded by Peter Laslett, to the ideological dimensions of family patterns and gender relations in the Balkans, what Karl Kaser has called “Patriarchy after Patriarchy” and other authors have described as a desirable but rarely achieved “common ideal”.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to continue the discussion of the dynamic changes and diverse social transformations in the societies of the different Balkan nations. The numerous wars in which the region has been involved, the change of dominant ideologies and social models effectuated profound transformations of the inherited notions of family and gender relations. New research on modernization processes in the 20th century shows the dynamics of changes in marriage strategies and new features of family structure and gender divisions. The entry of urban patterns into the agrarian village in the first half of the 20th century through the servants of bourgeois families in the big cities, as well as the transformation of the household economy by the labor mobility and migrations of gastarbeiters from Turkey or the countries of former Yugoslavia led to significant changes in the whole social structure. The emergence of female labor mobility in a number of countries, including in trans-border patterns, has led to a significant rethinking of parental roles and the place of children in the family. A particular impact on the breakdown of the traditional family model and the formation of new family forms was caused by the forced industrialization and urbanization in the decades of socialism in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, which changed the modes of existence of family households in what Eleanor W. Smollett called “The Economy of Jars”.

Our intention is to present contemporary research on the dynamic of changes and transformations in patterns of family construction in diverse social and confessional environment, according to the cultural milieu in different countries of the Balkans.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400-600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editors ([email protected]) or to the Genealogy editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.


Čapo Žmegač, J. (1996), ‘New evidence and old theories: Multiple family households in northern Croatia’, Continuity and Change, 11, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 375–398.

Halpern, J. M., Kaser, K., & Wagner, R. A. (1996), ‘Patriarchy in the Balkans: Temporal and cross-cultural approaches’, The History of the Family, 1, pp. 425–442.

Hammel, E. (1980), ‘Household structure in fourteenth-century Macedonia’, Journal of Family History, 5, pp. 242– 273.

Hristov, P. (2014), ‘Ideological Dimensions of the “Balkan Family Pattern” in the first half of 20th century’, The History of the Family, 19, Issue 2, pp. 218-234

Kaser, K. (2008), Patriarchy after patriarchy. Gender relations in Turkey and in the Balkans, 1500– 2000. Wien: LIT Verlag.

Laslett, P., & Wall, R. (Eds.) (1972), Household and Family in Past Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Smollett, Eleanor W. (1989), ‘The Economy of Jars. Kindred Relationships in. Bulgaria – An Exploration’, Ethnologia Europaea XIX, pp. 125-140.

Todorova, M. (2006), Balkan family structure and the European pattern. Demographic developments in Ottoman Bulgaria. Budapest: Central European University Press.

Authors submitting to this special issue will not be charged any Article Processing Charges (APCs).

Dr. Petko Hristov
Prof. Dr. Maria Todorova
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • family
  • family household
  • gender
  • Balkan patriarchy
  • labor mobility
  • modernization

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Back to TopTop