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Nuptiality in Latin America

Sweet (1977) had listed nine marital issues as topics in family demography:

1) age at first marriage--individual variation; 2) age at marriage--aggregate

variation; 3) age at marriage and fertility; 4) age at marriage, age at first

birth and subsequent life chances; 5) premarital pregnancy; 6) marital

disruption--aggregate trend; 7) marital disruption--differentials;

8) remarriage; 9) marital disruption and fertility.

A sociologist’s “marriage” between sociology and demography to produce

family demography has advantages that formal adherence to one or another

discipline

could

not

provide.

Demographers

have

a

tradition

of

presenting

“what is” coherently, but sociology has a tradition of thinking deeply about

and formulating numerous theories and hypotheses about marriage that can help

guide

descriptive

inquiries

and

interpret

observed

trends.

In

fact,

the

challenge has been to organize all the different perspectives sociology has to

offer into a few overarching frameworks such as exchange, symbolic

interaction, family development, conflict or ecological ones (Klein and White

1996).

Since

a

central

sociological

concern

has

been

that

of

hierarchy

and

inequality, and since in the past actual “marriage” was most common among

people of upper class or European descent in Latin America, it seems natural

to ask in this chapter whether there is a relationship between social

hierarchy

and

union

type

in

Latin

America.

In

addition

to

the

normal

demographic inclination of looking at individuals, we look at couples because

of the guiding sociological idea of “homogamy,” that likes tend to marry (or

unite

with)

social

likes.

A

sociological

observation

has

been

that

there

tends to be a marriage “market” in which individuals or families exchange

various attributes such as looks, family background, fertility and earning

potential in what ultimately appears to be a more or less fair exchange

(culturally-defined).

values.

Here,

we

limit

Psychologists

ourselves

to

too

the

speak

of

issue

of

the

benefits

socioeconomic

of

shared

status.

To

6

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