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But overall level of privacy within the premodern family wa

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Title: But overall level of privacy within the premodern family wa


1
PREMODERN FAMILIES
  • Families in premodern Europe were larger and more
    complex than modern families
  • In cities, there were sharp differences in family
    size and composition according to income level
    and status of male family head

2
PREMODERN RURAL FAMILIES
  • In rural areas, tended to be more complex than
    urban families
  • Due to inheritance customs
  • Eldest son inherited everything
  • Younger siblings received money and were allowed
    to live with eldest son until they married
  • Elderly peasants also sometimes gave property to
    eldest son on the condition that the son would
    take care of him and his wife

3
LACK OF PRIVACY
  • Privacy decreased as one traveled down the social
    scale
  • But overall level of privacy within the premodern
    family was significantly less than today
  • Until 1800, French and German lower class family
    members generally lived in one room
  • Both urban and rural

4
LACK OF AFFECTION
  • Subordination of women by men went deeper than
    mere economic misery
  • Marriages at the time, even among the relatively
    well-to-do, were emotional and romantic voids
  • Couples bound together for reproductive and
    economic reasons
  • Love does not seem to have been much of a factor

5
GENDER ROLES
  • Gender roles within the premodern family were
    extraordinarily strict and absolute
  • The community was always ready to step in and
    punish with ridicule any person who tried to
    violate these strict gender roles

6
WOMENS WORK
  • French peasant wives were responsible for the
    three Cs
  • Child-rearing
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Only cooking represented a considerable burden in
    terms of time and effort
  • Also was in charge of everything that had to do
    with the farmyard
  • Also responsible for gathering firewood and
    certain types of field work
  • Weeding but not spading or plowing
  • Only time that line between mens and womens
    work would temporarily disappear was at harvest
    time

7
LEISURE TIME
  • Men actually had more disposable time than women
  • Had time to hang out in cafés or taverns for a
    few hours a week
  • Women had no disposable time at all
  • Even social occasions doubled as work occasions

8
MENS WORK
  • Men performed grinding physical labor that often
    left them physical wrecks by the time they were
    40
  • Male realm was outside the house
  • Care and repair of tools
  • Butchering livestock
  • Sowing, spading, plowing, and harvesting
  • Paid familys external obligations

9
SUBORDINATE ROLE (1)
  • Peasant women did have authority over certain
    well-defined spheres of family life
  • But these spheres were removed from direct
    contact with the outside market economy
  • And therefore women had little leverage over
    their husbands
  • The roles that women performed in relation to men
    were all inferior, subordinate ones
  • Her power over certain aspects of domestic life
    did her no good in terms of her relationship with
    men

10
SUBORDINATE ROLE (2)
  • Role of wives was subservient and inferior to
    husbands in the realm of external relations
  • Men took an active role and women took a passive
    one
  • Men dealt with the outside world and handled
    threats to the familys security
  • Women seldom left their familys holdings

11
SUBORDINATE ROLE (3)
  • From a male point of view, women did not make
    things happen
  • Rather, things happened to women
  • Premodern men also saw their wives as mere baby
    machines and treated them just as they would
    treat any other machine
  • Mechanically and without affection

12
SUBORDINATE ROLE (4)
  • Before 1750, each family member had his or her
    tasks to perform and each had his or her role to
    act out before the other
  • Men were expected to be domineering, selfish,
    brutal, and unsentimental
  • Women were expected to be loyal, self-effacing,
    passive, and submissive
  • A huge sentimental and emotional gulf separated
    men and women in the premodern family
  • It was not a happy unitbut no one expected it to
    be

13
VIOLENCE AND CHILDREN
  • Violence towards children took place but it was
    more a question of the brutal routines of daily
    life and not a question of savage outbursts of
    parental rage
  • Violence was done to children in the normal
    context of bringing them up
  • Not as an out-of-the-ordinary event

14
PARENTAL UNCONCERN
  • Leaving infants alone for long periods of time
    was nearly universal practice
  • Maternal inattentiveness can be partly explained
    by the strains of economic necessity
  • But mothers exhibited little affectionate concern
    for their children even when they were with them

15
TROUBLESOME EXAMPLES
  • Apparent lack of sadness at an infants death was
    widespread
  • Child Abandonment was also widespread
  • Poverty was the major cause
  • Whenever retail grain prices rose during the 18th
    century, so did the number of abandoned infants
  • In fact, the higher the retail price of grain
    went, the older the age of the abandoned child

16
WET NURSES
  • Common practice for upper class families to ship
    newly born children to wet nurses
  • Peasant women who made their livings feeding and
    caring for the children of the rich
  • Children were sent away for up to two years
  • Parents seldom, if ever, visited children while
    they were with the wet nurse

17
HORRIBLE CONDITIONS
  • Infants exposed to horrible conditions with wet
    nurses
  • Wet nurses often lived in filthy hovels
  • Sometimes gave infants alcohol and opium-based
    drinks to shut them up
  • Supplemented milk with pap
  • Flour, sugar, and water
  • Mortality rate among children with wet nurses was
    very high
  • And parents did not appear to care

18
CHANGE
  • Family system changed after 1750
  • Family relationships became more loving, gender
    and work roles opened up, and child rearing
    practices became less brutal and more sensitive
  • Evidence of change is plentiful
  • Decline of wet nursing
  • Abandonment of such archaic child rearing
    practices as swaddling
  • Increase in books and pamphlets on children and
    child rearing
  • Increase in number of women employed outside the
    home

19
MAIN REASON FOR CHANGE
  • Replacement of traditional economy by modern
    marketplace economy was main reason of the change
    in peoples values and behavior within the family

20
TRADITIONAL ECONOMY
  • Throughout the 18th century, each locality was
    like a hermetically sealed economic unit in which
    local customs and traditions governed all
    economic transactions
  • Not laws of supply and demand
  • Example guilds
  • Self-contained, tradition-bound economy
    reinforced and supported the community
  • Social grouping of people who operated within
    this artificial economy
  • Which regulated the lives of its members
    according to tradition

21
IMPACT OF CAPITALISM
  • Rise of capitalism shattered local economies and
    created national market
  • Where free competition and supply and demand
    determined wages, prices, production, and quality
  • Also shattered the hold of the local community,
    with all its restraints, customs, and rules of
    behavior, over local people
  • By destroying traditional determinants of
    behavior, the rise of capitalism opened the door
    for new types of behavior to take root

22
DECLINE OF COMMUNITY REGULATION
  • Traditional community ridiculed people who
    crossed line separating mens from womens work
    and thereby maintained separation of male and
    female roles
  • Also encouraged large families kept women
    submissive and kept children in their place
  • Therefore, the decline of the social regulatory
    power of the community opened up the possibility
    for change by removing the weight of community
    censorship from peoples backs

23
OTHER FACTORS
  • Growth of the modern nation state
  • With centralized administrative apparatus and
    ever-growing army of bureaucrats
  • Weakened local power of community by subjecting
    it to outside regulation
  • Spectacular increase in immigration
  • Caused local populations to become more fluid
  • Undermined the authority of the traditional
    village community by destabilizing its membership
  • Both the above factors, however were heavily
    influenced by the rise of capitalism
  • Making it the prime agent of change

24
QUALIFICATION
  • There was no apparent reason why the family
    became more loving, tightly knit, and child
    oriented just because traditional restraints had
    been removed
  • It could have just as easily become worse
  • But this didnt happen for two reasons
  • It was unlikely that family life could have
    gotten worse
  • Other components embedded within the rise of
    capitalism subtly encouraged the family to
    develop in the direction that it did

25
CAPITALIST MENTALITY
  • Growth of capitalism created a free market labor
    force as more people competed to sell their labor
    to capitalist manufacturers
  • In order to survive in this competitive
    environment, an individual had to be willing to
    ruthlessly pursue his or her self interest
  • Free market engraved look out for number one
    mentality on all who participated in it

26
NEW ATTITUDES
  • Capitalist mentality also influenced noneconomic
    (such as social and personal) areas of peoples
    lives
  • Especially when community enforced influences
    were breaking down
  • Capitalism, for example, gave women a more
    egotistical, more opportunistic outlook on life
    that made them want to change their situation
  • By breaking down community restraints and giving
    them the opportunity for at least more economic
    independence than they had in the past

27
END OF ARRANGED MARRIAGES
  • Spread of capitalist mentality ended practice of
    arranged marriages
  • Children, already freed in an economic sense from
    their parents by the fact that could enter the
    labor market and support themselves, also tried
    to maximize the amount of happiness in their
    personal lives
  • Began to gravitate towards partners of their own
    choosing
  • Generally improved relations within the average
    family

28
IMPROVEMENTS IN CHILD CARE
  • Rise of capitalism brought qualitative
    improvements to Europeans lives
  • Resulted in reduction of child mortality
  • Which in turn contributed to reduction in average
    family size
  • Gave mothers a better chance to give their
    children more care simply because there was now
    less of them

29
BOURGEOIS VALUES
  • Rise in living standards, caused by rise of
    capitalist economy, tended to liberate middle
    class women from non-household types of work
  • Could now devote more time to her children
  • Increased concern for child care among middle
    class gradually spread to the rest of society as
    middle class values became dominant throughout
    society in the 19th century
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