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SOC214H1 (76)
Bonnie Fox (74)

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Bonnie Fox

Families in pre-industrial Europe The pre-industrial Europe and North America, people working on the land- both servants and craftsmen‟s (creating products at home and sell it in the market) works are done in or around the households by the members of the household ”household economy”, which is the basis of nuclear family th th I. Family in Feudal England (5 -14 century) There is no central government or army in this period. Family structure then become powerful and become the key labour force A. The nobility (& royalty) and the importance of the lineage 1. Marriage: an arrangement between lineages, to acquire connections & land (women bring a „dowry‟, men a „bride price‟) ▫ In royal family, you marry your son or daughter to another royal family in a foreign country so that when these two countries are in war, you will have alliance ▫ Women were under husband‟s control after being married 2. Wives: for bearing a son (an heir) ▫ Power for a woman is to have a son and wait till he becomes the King ▫ Wife has the pressure to have lots of children, including girls ▫ Noble men are often gone. The husbands will trust their wives to run the state 3. “Patriarch client relationship”: more powerful person claim protection to lower status people and the lower status people, in return, promise loyalty ▫ There are tremendous social inequality-90% of the population are servants ▫ The peasants are bounded to the land/indenture (they owe labour work to the noble family) ▫ Serfs/peasants cultivate their own-they feed themselves B. Peasants/serfs: nuclear families, under the power of the manorial lord & immersed in the village community 1. Household: work unit- nuclear family plus labourer(s) 2. Marriage based on practical matters-the nobles encourage their peasants to get marry. So that the men can work better by having the wife to provide food for their household. Marriage is the basis of the working partnership a. Need for land and some dowry-men‟s source of power, only they can own land b. Husband (owner of property) & his wife‟s guardian (legally)- if the women have to go the court, they need somebody to represent them c. RC Church: man as authority over his wife less gender inequality with decreasing status-lower status women. The church proposed that marriage is for the sake to have children and to prevent adultery d. But wife working together with husband to provide subsistence 3. Children: mothers occupied primarily with necessary work ∙ Parents do care about children. However, women do not prioritize the care of the child ∙ Usually kids taking care of kids 4. High death rates; frequent changes in household composition (stepmothers)- 50% chance of children surviving till the age of 21 5. Lack of privacy ▫ Peasants live in village community-lands were scattered around the countryside. Thus, the whole village decides where to plant and what to plant-collective decision. ▫ If you choose somebody that the village disagree, the whole village will humiliate you - These families are where the economy of the villages occurs. Household families provide labour. Work relations are family relations (intertwine). The marriage is the basis of working partnership II. The „Family Economy‟: the Household as the Unit of Production, Members as the Labour Force. Pre- industrial England& France Peasants & Artisans A. Independent producers, working for themselves: production occurred in the household, & family relations were also work relations. ◦ Economic units were small, often overlapping with households ◦ Servants: any household dependent, whether performing domestic or manufacturing tasks ▫ Young unmarried dependent person who joined a family economy as an additional number ◦ Wage labourers: lived in households of their own, bound together, like the families of agricultural labourers, by the need to earn money which would pay for their subsistence ◦ “Family wage economy”-individuals sold their labour power in order to support the family unit th ◦ Production was low in 18 century England and France. Demand for labour extended to women. The work of individuals was defined by their family positions ◦ People work in the family interest- People who controlled their means of production adjusted households‟ composition to production needs. For the propertyless, people adjusted household composition to consumption needs B. Husband and wife did complementary and necessary work: both were essential C. Marriage 1) Prerequisite: land/a trade for the man, a dowry for the woman (and children‟s dependence on their father to provide) 2) Age: late 3) Practical considerations in choice of mate 4) Gender relations in marriage: patriarchy or partnership? There were some „rough equality‟- in 15 th century England, some men out their wives‟ names onto the titles to land and some peasant put on the wills that their wives will have the land after they died a) Covertures – women were the wards of their husbands b) Husbands owned the property. Women, single (including widow) and over 21, are allowed to own land but as long as they were married, the land belong to their husband c) Men were the primary producers d) Men had the legal right to use corporal punishment e) Men had an incentive to exert their authority f) Women did essential work ◦ Marriage was an economic arrangement and the establishment of a family economy. It required the couples to be able to support themselves and their children ◦ Properties were often passed on from generation to generation. In northern France, a young man had to postpone marriage until a house was vacant (one or both parents died) and a young woman had to wait for the death of her parents to receive settlement. This leads to late marriage and fewer children, which also functioned as a birth control (limited the size of the completed family). For the propertyless, they can marry as long as both of them were able to earn wages. And among the poorest, legalization of sexual relationships was unnecessary since they were unexpected to acquire property D. Household composition: frequently changing to meet changing needs for labourers & because of high mortality rates ◦ Migration increased in times of economic crisis. It is because when the number of family members exceeded the resources available to feed them, the older children or non-kin were forced to work elsewhere and they migrated ▫ Sometimes, the father of the family left home in search for work. He relieved the household of the need to feed him. However, this does not mean he can find job to support
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