A first portrait of personal networks in a comparative perspective

TitleA first portrait of personal networks in a comparative perspective
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGouveia, R, Aeby, G, Cesnuityté, V
EditorGouveia, R, Cesnuityté, V, Wall, K, Widmer, E, Gauthier, J-A
Book TitleFamilies and personal networks: An international comparative perspective
Series TitlePalgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Place PublishedLondon, United Kingdom
KeywordsAcquaintanceship, Co-residence, Comparative analysis, Homophily, individualization, Kinship, Lithuania, personal networks, Pluralization, Portugal, Switzerland

In order to understand how changing trends of individualization and pluralization have been affecting personal networks in the three countries, this chapter provides an overview of the core characteristics of personal networks in Portugal, Switzerland, and Lithuania. First, we compare the size and composition of personal networks across the three countries, by highlighting the commonalities and differences. Secondly, we examine how the characteristics of personal networks are shaped by individuals’ birth-cohort, structural conditions, and normative contexts. Findings show that the underlying mechanisms of proximity linked to kinship, friendship, co-residency, long-lasting acquaintanceship, and gender homophily are differently valued in the three countries. These differences are discussed in the light of individuals’ social context, but also according to national historical pathways, welfare regimes, and social-economic conditions.