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Similarity in DifferenceMarriage in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900$
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Christer Lundh and Satomi Kurosu

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027946

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027946.001.0001

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Prudence as Obstinate Resistance to Pressure

Prudence as Obstinate Resistance to Pressure

Marriage in Nineteenth-Century Rural Eastern Belgium

Chapter:
(p.261) 8 Prudence as Obstinate Resistance to Pressure
Source:
Similarity in Difference
Author(s):

Michel Oris

George Alter

Paul Servais

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027946.003.0008

The nineteenth century challenged the adaptive capacities of rural population in eastern Belgium. Families succeeded in maintaining local cultures and ways of life by imposing strict controls on marriage, a traditional response that intensified during the century. This chapter considers family control and escape from that control among the unmarried aged 18–44 in two rural communities. We focus on the effects of household composition and local contexts on their uneasy transition to adulthood, considering also partner choice and premarital sexuality in a social and demographic system under pressure. Even more than others, farming families avoided marrying during periods forbidden by the Catholic Church, their intervals between marriage and first birth were longer, illegitimate births were rarer and their expectations about marriage were higher.

Keywords:   Marriage, rural families, partner choice, sexuality, Belgium, migration

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