Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology

ERC Starting Grant for Thomas Leopold (UvA)

'Uncovering the Kinship Matrix: A New Study of Solidarity and Transmission in European Families'

Thomas Leopold (Associate Professor UvA) received an ERC Starting Grant for his project: Uncovering the Kinship Matrix: A New Study of Solidarity and Transmission in European Families

About the project: What people regard as their family is usually a large network: children, parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, stepparents and stepsiblings. Current data and research are limited to a small segment of this network – often only the ‘nuclear family’ of parents and children. In his project Thomas Leopold will extend the nuclear view to map out the family network in unprecedented scope and detail. With his team he will collect new multi-actor survey data on 10,000 families in five European countries, combined with large-scale data from genealogical sources and national registers. These data will show the family not as a nuclear unit but as a kinship matrix – a large, diverse and multigenerational web of relationships. Based on this view, Leopold will study how the family matters: as a private safety net insuring against health risks and financial hardship, as a social network protecting from isolation and loneliness, and as a source of capital promoting education and careers.