Definition of Nepotism
Examples of Nepotism
- Legacy admissions (also called legacy preference) is when preferential treatment is given to family members related to alumni of a particular institution or organization, but typically used to describe university admissions. Students admitted as part of this process are referred to as legacies or legacy students.
- Ulysses S. Grant (1869–1877), the 18th President of United States (1869–1877), is often cited as an example of nepotism in politics. Grant’s father and brothers, along with his father-in-law and brothers-in-law, all profited from his presidency.
Etymology of Nepotism
- Term comes from the Italian word neptismo, and from the Latin word nepōs (“nephew”) and relates to the practice of popes appointing relatives, particular nephews to positions as cardinals during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
- American English – /nEp-uh-tiz-uhm/
- British English – /nE-puh-ti-zuhm/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈnɛpəˌtɪz(ə)m/
- British English – /ˈnɛpətɪz(ə)m/
- Amicism refers specifically to giving preference to one’s friends.
- Nepotism limits mobility though endogamy, can be an example of social capital, and is typically viewed as an act of corruption.
- Nepotism is contrasted to meritocracy.
- Nepotism is similar to cronyism.
- Also called:
- kin selection
- A individual getting a job through nepotism is a (noun) nepotist who (adverb) nepotistically had a (adjective) nepotistic or (adjective) nepotical or (adjective) nepotistical advantage.
- “[F]amilies once provided their children with jobs. Inheritance of the family farm or business was an important factor structuring many young people’s economic opportunities and their relationships with their parents. Nepotism has not totally vanished from modern economies; many parents can ‘pick up the phone‘ and procure opportunities for their children in the businesses of friends and associates. Nevertheless, most parents who want to help their children must now find other ways to do so. Financing their children’s college education, which often delays complete financial and residential independence of those children, is one way parents achieve this end” (Goldscheider and Torr 2007:2571).
- Family and Kinship Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “nepotism” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Favoritism, Cronyism, and Nepotism – Markkula Center for Applied Ethics: scu.edu
- anticipatory socialization
- peer group
- social network
Goldscheider, Frances, and Berna Torr. 2007. “Leaving Home in the Transition to Adulthood.” Pp. 2571 in The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, edited by G. Ritzer. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “nepotism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved November 28, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/nepotism/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
nepotism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/nepotism/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “nepotism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed November 28, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/nepotism/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“nepotism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 28 Nov. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/nepotism/>.