How Much Did Family Matter? The Role of in-Laws in the Socio-Political Careers of Romanian Politicians from Transylvania (1861–1918

Ana Victoria Sima, Babes-Bolyai University, Romanian Academy

This study aims to examine to what extent the marital alliances and social status of the families of Romanian politicians from Transylvania influenced their political and cultural rise and behaviour in the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. This is an analysis focusing on the families into which the Romanian members of the Transylvanian Diet and the Budapest Parliament entered by marriage between 1861 and 1918. Based on the most recent research in European historiography on the role of socio-economic and cultural factors in the social mobility of individuals, we aim to reach the following objectives. Firstly, we wish to identify the social environments from which the in-laws of the Romanian members of Parliament came and how their socio-economic and formative backgrounds played a crucial role in the professional achievement and conduct of their sons-in-law as individual actors or as part of a decision-making group. Secondly, we aim to identify the extent to which the confessional affiliation of the fathers-in-law of these Parliament members influenced the social, political and cultural behaviour of their sons-in-law. More specifically, we attempt to answer some research questions like the following ones: What was the role played by the Romanian Parliament members’ in-laws and their families of origin in the social mobility of the Romanian members of Parliament? How important were matrimonial alliances among the Romanian political elite during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and how were they established? Last but not least, we try to capture the socio-confessional networks existing within this Romanian elite group, their ramifications throughout the territory, and their capacity to support and influence the decision of political leaders. Keywords: Transylvania, family, political elite, social mobility, matrimonial alliances.

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 Presented in Session 133. The Impact of Cohesion: Single Households, Marriage Premium and in-Laws.