Despite debates on its nuclearization, the traditional joint family remains a prominent institution in contemporary India. However, little is still known about its spatial pattern, a strongly structuring factor for other demographic and socioeconomic phenomena. This paper offers a spatial analysis of the joint family at the district level in contemporary India. Instead of limiting the definition of the joint family to a specific household form, we examine its multidimensional aspect, showing how its different norms interact with each other and form clusters according to their practice of the joint family. As a household structure, the ideal joint family is defined by its intergenerational living arrangement, with the coresidence of all married brothers and, consequently, the absence of neolocal residence for newly married sons. The joint family is also linked to a specific kinship system, embedded by strong gender inequalities. It involves a patrilocal residence, daughters leaving their natal home once married for the joint household of their in-Laws, a patrilineal inheritance system, excluding women from ancestral land and property ownership, and a patriarchal hierarchy, the traditional household head being the oldest living male. Using the fourth wave of the National Family Health Survey, we develop two composite indexes for mapping these two main dimensions. While the Joint Kinship System index presents a classic North/South dichotomy, the Joint Household Structure index turns out to have a multipolar spatial distribution. Those special spatial patterns appear to be the result of a complex combination of socioeconomic, demographic and cultural factors.
Doctorant en Démographie au sein du laboratoire SAGE (Université de Strasbourg), mes recherches portent sur l’étude des diverses structures familiales en Inde et se concentrent plus particulièrement sur la famille indivise (ou joint family), forme familiale jugée comme traditionnelle, en examinant son intégration dans la société indienne contemporaine. À travers, une approche géographique et démographique, elles cherchent à explorer les multiples aspects du système familial indivis, en mettant en évidence les facteurs influençant sa formation, sa partition et sa mutation, et en explorant les formes d’inertie spatiale qui caractérisent encore aujourd’hui les stratégies résidentielles et familiales en Inde.