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Renzo Carriero (University of Turin)

24 November 2023 @ 13:00 - 14:00


  • Past event


24 November 2023
13:00 - 14:00
Event Category:
Academic Events

Seminar series “CLOSER…but not quite” – In the name of the father? The transmission of the paternal surname to children and the diffusion of double surnames in Italy

Venue: Campus Luigi Einaudi, room 3 D1 36

Abstract. Transmitting the paternal surname to children is a deep-rooted custom that has been in force in most patrilineal societies for centuries. It speaks very eloquently of the gender inequality that persists in society, as the unquestioned inheritance of the paternal surname makes maternal identity invisible. Unfortunately, sociological literature has devoted very little attention to the issue of children’s surname, despite its obvious relevance in relation to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Inspired by a recent ruling by the Italian Constitutional Court on the transmission of surnames of both parents, this article investigates the practice of passing on the paternal surname and its main alternative, the double surname. Drawing on the classic theory of the diffusion of innovations, this work examines the role of two factors that might affect individuals’ intentions to choose the double surname: the awareness of the new option and its compatibility with pre-existing social norms in society. We conducted two survey experiments on Italian samples (N≈3000) drawn from the ResPOnsE online panel. The results from the first survey experiment show that the preference for the double surname is quite strong and does not depend on the awareness of this new option. The findings from the second survey experiment, however, reveal that the paternal surname social norm constitutes a braking factor for the diffusion of the double surnames.

Joint with Dotti Sani G., Ladini R., Molteni F.