Family and Social Change: The Household as a Process in an Industrializing Community

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Overview

This book is a quantitative study into the influence of the process of industrialization on the nature and strength of family relationships in a Dutch community between 1850 and 1920. There are two main sets of theoretical focal points. The first one is structural-functionalist theory assuming an inevitable causality between the more loosely knit nuclear family system and industrial society. The second set consists of historical assumptions about the resilience and tenacity of family relationships. The study makes use of the unique and unusually rich source of Dutch population registers, so that successive cohorts of the families can be tracked down from the formation of the family household until its dissolution. Family aspects such as extended kin co-residence, family care for the elderly and the pattern by which children break away from their parents are examined in the light of the transformation of the local society. The study closely relates aspects of family and household with the social processes characteristic of an industrializing society, such as increasing rates of social and geographical mobility and the shift of production from the home into the factory. Results reveal a striking continuity in the strength of nineteenth-century family relations despite the gradual but profound process of social change surrounding these families. Changes in behavioural patterns did occur, however, under the influence of changes in demographic rates, regional geographical mobility systems and local developments in the housing market. Nevertheless, these changes cannot be taken as a weakening of family relationships.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Overall, Janssens's book represents a fine example of the value of qualitative historical research....the findings cast powerful doubt upon Parson's static, functional arguments about family." Canadian Journal of Sociology

"The collection and analysis of data in this book are meticulous and painstaking...,Janssens's argument is generally convincing, and this book makes an important contribution to scholarship on household structure." American Historical Review

"Although specialist will find the main results of this study familiar, they will profit by the detailed information provided by the fifteen figures, thirty-two tables, and fifty-five appendixes. Readers will also appreciate the clear exposition of argument and evidence." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"In this important book, Angélique Janssens provides the first sustained longitudinal investigation of patterns of extended family structure in the past....It deserves to be widely read and is bound to stimulate further research." Steven Ruggles, American Journal of Sociology

"...a well-written challenge to Parsons' claim that industrialization inevitably results in a shift from the extended to the nuclear family. With her longitudinal approach, she demonstrates the value of qualitative analysis for grasping the interaction of individuals and society during social and economic change that intervenes between societal processes such as industrialization, and the family." William M. Cross, European Studies Journal

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
List of appendices
Preface
1 Family and industrialization 1
2 The industrializing context: continuity and change in nineteenth-century Tilburg 31
3 Sources and methods 50
4 Family structure through time 69
5 Family life and the social structure 115
6 Family structure and geographical mobility 160
7 Family and work: the effect of the family economy on the structural characteristics of the household 193
8 Conclusion 233
Appendices 247
Bibliography 300
Index 313
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