Sociologie Românească, Vol. VIII, no. 4/2010, pp. 139-147.




Unitatea socială numită „maisnie”. Precizări terminologice

Social unit call "maisnie. Terminology

Irina Stahl*



*Institute of Socioloy, Romanian Academy of Science



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Abstract: The present paper brings into the light the French word maisnie, currently used in the Social Sciences by researchers dedicated to the study of households units, especially from the South-East European area. In 1974, the Romania originated French anthropologist Paul Henri Stahl was the first one to introduce this XIth C. French word into the social sciences. His choice came as a response to a translation dilemma he found himself confronted with, while writing his studies regarding the South-East European social units: the inexistence in the currently French language of a word able to designate the “smallest social unit”, as he called the household. Instead of creating a new word (as in the case of the well known zadruga), he proposes one which had actually being used in the different regional French dialects in the Middle Ages - maisnie. This word used to designate a social unit very similar to the Romanian gospodărie, the Bulgarian družina or kupčina, the Serbo-Croatian domačinstvo, the Albanian shtëpi or the Greek mikokiato. Starting by specifying the particular context in which this word made its entrance in the vocabulary of social sciences, the paper continues by focusing on the social reality hidden behind this complex notion. The last part deals with the utterance of a few conclusions, regarding possible approaches between the ancient French maisnie and the other similar social units from the South-Eastern Europe.

Keywords: household, maisnie, social units, family, domestic group.

Cuvinte cheie: gospodărie, maisnie, unităţi sociale, familie, grup domestic.