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Children In The Middle Ages

Compiled from Sociofile

1 of 35

Title: Parents' Attitudes towards the Death of Infants in the Traditional Jewish-Oriental Family
Author: Stahl,-Abraham
Journal: Journal-of-Comparative-Family-Studies; 1991, 22, 1, spring, 75-83.
Abstract: Historians of European culture in the Middle Ages & early modern times hold different views about the attitudes of parents toward the death of their infants, respectively, that: (1) it was necessary for parents to develop emotional distance from their small children because many of them died in their first few years, & (2) parental indifference toward small children was a cause of the high rate of mortality. Here, these views are tested in the case of Jews in the Middle East & North Africa in the twentieth century, drawing on Jewish-Oriental autobiographical, ethnographical, & religious texts, & interviews conducted with 30 old women born in Oriental countries & now living in Israel. Findings support the first view. 23 References. Adapted from the source document. (Copyright 1991, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.)

2 of 35

Title: Infants, Children, and Death in Medieval Muslim Society: Some Preliminary Observations
Author: Giladi,-Avner
Journal: Social-History-of-Medicine; 1990, 3, 3, Dec, 345-368.
Abstract: An investigation of whether the high rates of infant & child mortality in medieval Muslim society reflected parents' indifference to their children, or resulted from the harshness & complexity of children's lives. Two levels of adult reactions to both natural & unnatural child deaths are described: religious-theoretical & emotional. A genre of writings offering religious & psychological support to bereaved parents-including poems of lamentation & consolation treatises-is examined, & indicates that the death of a child was regarded as a great loss, even in times of plague when rates of infant & child mortality were high. However, these writings also show a conflict between emotional grief & the religious attitude of restraint & self-control, contradictory motifs that exemplify the complex nature of attitudes toward childhood. Adapted from the source document. (Copyright 1991, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.)

4 of 35

Title: A Multidimensional Theory of Early Modern Western Childhood
Author: Johnson,-G.-David
Journal: Journal-of-Comparative-Family-Studies; 1990, 21, 1, spring, 1-11.
Abstract: Historical findings on the nature of childhood in early modern times (1450-1800) are compared for England, France, & the American colonies, focusing on the effects of modernity on the family. After summarizing modernization & Marxist theories of the transformation of childhood, evidence is presented to show that the American colonies & England developed modern forms prior to France; the single exception was the earlier experience of fertility declines in France. A multidimensional theory of childhood change is presented which posits that ecological, political-economic, & ideological conditions are each necessary to the development of the full range of aspects that make up modern childhood. 36 References. Modified HA (Copyright 1990, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.)

5 of 35

Title: Looking Forward from Aries? Pictorial and Material Evidence for the History of Childhood and Family Life
Author: Burton,-Anthony
Journal: Continuity-and-Change; 1989, 4, 2, Aug, 203-229.
Abstract: Some evidence supporting Philippe Aries's unique iconographic approach in his pioneering history of childhood & family life has been reexamined by art historians for interpretive methodology, revealing new areas for study. Where consulting existing iconographies would broaden selection of materials used, & pictorial evidence be better referenced, Aries's methods were lacking. Although evidence concerning it is useful & plentiful, the "Ages of Man" theme is only superficially analyzed. On other themes, Aries makes misguided inferences on too little evidence: eg, the lack in medieval representations of the family, noted by Aries, does not necessarily imply that children were ignored or regarded indifferently in the Middle Ages. Available theoretical frameworks for iconography, (from the social & art history fields, were not used by Aries, & he disregarded recent revisions in decoding Dutch genre paintings. Although brilliant insights are found in Aries's work, a closer examination of other iconographic & three dimensional material evidence by future social historians will lead to different conclusions. J. Sadler (Copyright 1990, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.)

6 of 35

Title: Fathers' Changing Position in the Law; Die Rolle des Vaters im Wandel des Rechts
Author: Limbach,-Jutta
Journal: Zeitschrift-fu-Sozialisationsforschung-und-Erziehungssoziologie; 1988, 8, 4, 298-308.
Abstract: A historical review examines changes in a father's legal rights & powers over his wife & children. Ancient Roman law, medieval Germanic law, Prussian laws of the eighteenth century, & German/West German laws through the nineteenth & twentieth centuries are outlined. Once possessing an almost unlimited power over his family, the father has had to accept, with increasing urbanization & industrialization, a substantial loss of his legal authority. Today, as a consequence of Fs' legal equality, he has to share parental authority with the mother. Moreover, parental authority in general has been subject to change, as children's rights have been acknowledged, & parental rights are more bound by duties. 22 References. Modified HA (Copyright 1989, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.)

7 of 35

Title: Adoption in the Current Politics of Aid to the Family; L'Adoption dans la politique actuelle d'aide a la famille
Author: Verdier,-Pierre
Journal: Revue-francaise-des-affaires-sociales; 1980, 34, 3, July-Sept, 63 78.
Abstract: A historical sketch of French legal & social policies toward adoption. Throughout the Middle Ages & early modern times, adoption was seen as an act of charity toward orphaned or abandoned children. In 1973 the first law was enacted to ensure that adoptees were placed in a suitable environment. This orientation toward child protection lasted well into the twentieth century. Adoption guidelines were relaxed after World War I & World War II due to the unusually high number of orphans & the shortage of prospective parents. Current policies are designed to facilitate the adoption process while trying to eliminate the causes of unwanted children through better family planning. Alternatives to adoption are discussed. 4 Tables. M. Meeks (Copyright 1984, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.)

15 of 35

Title: Social and Cultural Anthropology; Anthropologie sociale et culturelle
Author: Riviere,-Claude; Stamm,-Anne
Journal: AAnnee-Sociologique; 1986, 36, 435-449.
Abstract: A review essay on Claude Levi-Strauss's Le Regard eloigne ([The View from Afar], Paris: Plon, 1983 [see IRPS No. 29/85c00528 & 85c00529); Emmanuel Todd's La Troisieme Planete. Structures familiales et systemes ideologiques ([The Third Planet: Familial Structures and Ideological Systems], Paris: Le Seuil, 1983); & L'Enfance du monde. Structures familiales et developpement ([The Childhood of the World: Familial Structures and Development], Paris, Le Seuil, 1984); Agnes Audibert's Le Matriarcat breton ([The Breton Matriarchy], Paris: PUF, 1984); La Naissance, le mariage, la mort en Anjou, dans la premiere moitie du XXe siecle ([Birth, Marriage, and Death in Anjou, in the First Half of the Twentieth Century], Angers: Cahiers de l'IPSA, 1984, 8 Feb); R. Bernard's, M. Buisson's, J. Camy's, L. Roulleau-Berger's, & G. Vinvent's Education, fete et culture ([Education, Festival and Culture], Presses Universitaires de Lyon, CNRS ERA 631, University Lyon II); A. Fillod's & P. Pages's Temps et saisons. Dictons de la sagesse populaire ([Time and Seasons: Sayings of Popular Wisdom], Saint Vidal: Centre d'etudes de la vallee de la Borne, 1983); Francoise Loux L'Ogre et la dent. Pratiques et savoirs populaires relatifs aux dents ([The Ogre and the Tooth: Popular Practices and Knowledge Relating to Teeth], Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1981); Claude Kappler's Monstres, demons et merveilles a la fin du Moyen Age ([Monsters, Demons and Marvels at the End of the Middle Ages], Paris: Payot, 1980); Norma Cohn's Demonolatrie et sorcellerie au Moyen Age. Fantasmes et realites, ([Demon Worship and Sorcery in the Middle Ages: Fantasies and Realities], Paris: Payot, 1982); Roland Villeneuve's Les Proces de sorcellerie ([The Witchcraft Trials], Paris: Payot, 1979); & Gerard Hayart-Neuez's Croyances. Magies et sorcellerie, d'hier et d'aujourd'hui ([Beliefs: Magic and Sorcery, Yesterday and Today], Le Coteau: Ed. Horvath, 1983 [see listings in IRPS No. 34]). Some anthropological works dealing with beliefs prevalent in the Middle Ages, & also some customs that still survive today in some parts of the world, are examined. Devil worship, the ever-presence of monsters, the menace of teeth, the hope of magical solutions to difficulties all seem to have provided extremes of ecstacy & terror that fulfilled certain basic human needs. It seems clear that human nature has changed very little since the Middle Ages, & the failures of modern life to supply nourishment for the imagination is evident in the poverty of our emotional lives. S. McAneny

17 of 35

Title: On Childbirth: The Vicissitudes of a Primordial Notion; De l'enfantement: les vicissitudes d'une notion primordiale
Author: Boyman,-Elsa
Journal: Cahiers-Internationaux-de-Sociologie; 1984, 31, 77, July-Dec, 303 321.
Abstract: Myths that shape contemporary mentalities concerning childbirth are explored historically, from the Greek autochthonous myth through medieval Christian ones. The magical power of the female to bear children & the exclusion of the male from this process constitute a threat to self-professed male superiority. The Greek myth of autochthony declared that one must be born of the land, not of a woman, to be recognized as an Athenian citizen. The Greek male aspiration was to give birth without procreative acts, as the goddess Athena was born of her father. The medieval Christian church considered women to be the source of depravity & the cause of man's downfall; they were, however, a necessary evil for proliferation. Some current attitudes diminish the process of childbirth, or the F's role in it: childbirth is the greatest accomplishment a woman can aspire to; the male is the one to plant the seed, while the female merely carries it. With the advent of feminism & consciousness-raising, more progressive attitudes are slowly emerging. 10 References. HA Tr & Modified by D. Graves

18 of 35

Title: The Ecology of Mating Systems in Hypergynous Dowry Societies
Author: Dickemann,-Mildred
Journal: Social-Science-Information / Information-sur-les-Sciences Sociales; 1979, 18, 2, May, 163-195.
Abstract: Social & environmental catastrophes such as famine & war, which have a disproportionate upward effect on male mortality in stratified societies, lead to strategies for manipulating the sex ratio. Some of these strategies are examined, such as hypergyny, female infanticide, female celibacy, child betrothal, & polygyny. Data from China, India, southern France, & other regions from both the modern era & the Middle Ages are used to show that these cultural strategies have evolved through time as a concomitant of a consistent social preference for males. A model of the breeding patterns of hypergynous societies is included. 1 Figure. D. Dunseath

19 of 35

Title: Images of Childhood in Early Byzantine Hagiography
Author: Abrahamse,-Dorothy
Journal: Journal-of-Psychohistory; 1979, 6, 4, spring, 497-517.
Abstract: Studies in the historical concept of childhood have rarely used evidence from periods prior to the late Middle Ages, yet knowledge of earlier attitudes about children are needed by social historians. Analyzed are details from Byzantine hagiography for four topics: wet nursing, age of leaving home, education & training of small children, & emotional relations between parents & children. Genre characteristics of saints' lives make them a valuable resource: they almost always contain a detailed account of the saint's childhood & contemporaneous society, & children often benefit from the saint's miracles. The hagiographical form was adapted from Athanasius's biography of Anthony by churchmen, & used for several centuries in modified versions. Examined are models from the fourth, fifth, & sixth centuries which clearly show the constant threats to children's growth from diseases, accidents, hunger, & natural calamities. Presented also is evidence of children's spending many years in public institutions, especially the church; hypothesized is the powerful effect of years of church & monastery training upon children. D. Dunseath

20 of 35

Title: Sexuality and Family in Fifteenth-Century France: Are Literary Sources a Mask or a Mirror?
Author: Jeay,-Madeleine
Journal: Journal-of-Family-History; 1979, 4, 4, winter, 328-345.
Abstract: Our understanding of medieval attitudes toward sexuality & the family has come primarily from literature of the period. However, for purposes of social study, this literature is necessarily an incomplete source, since it does not represent the attitudes of a mostly unlettered public. Analyzed is the matrimonial system of fifteenth-century France through comparison of literary texts & documents, eg, folklore, historical works, & theological treatises. Study of Les XV joies du mariage (The Fifteen Joys of Marriage), & poetry of the period reveals popular attitudes that reflect the basic contradiction & ambiguity of Church doctrine: negative views toward fecundity & positive ones toward fertility. The Church's position is based both on the caveats of Saint Jerome against sexuality & the three marital bonuses perceived by Saint Augustine-children, faith, & sacrament (proles, fides, & sacramentum). Discussed also is the contradictory issue of lineage in marriage; Claude Levi-Strauss has noted that this conflict was resolved by an extension of incest taboos to fourth cousins, adopted relatives, & spiritual relations designated at baptisms. Bibliography. D. Dunseath

25 of 35

Title: The Idea of Childhood and Child Care in Medical Writings of the Middle Ages
Author: Demaitre,-Luke
Journal: Journal-of-Psychohistory; 1977, 4, 4, spring, 461-490.
Abstract: One source of evidence on medieval attitudes toward children has been almost wholly ignored: writings of medical authorities of this period. Substantial pediatric knowledge had already been developed in antiquity, in the works of such authors as Galen, Hippocrates, Soranus, Oribasius, & Aegineta. Muslim authors had also discussed pediatrics. The first Christian writing on this subject appeared in the twelfth century AD. Childhood was generally divided into three phases: (1) infancy from birth until an age from six months to two years, (2) second infancy until age seven, & (3) pueritia until fourteen. Second infancy involved dentition & articulate speech, while pueritia involved the beginnings of articulate speech & conscious choice. Childhood ended when the sexes became clearly distinguished. Physicians stressed the need for newborn children to be spared too much exposure to the rigors of the extrauterine environment; this was the primary aim of swaddling. Attention was also given to nursing, bathing, exercise, & training in speech. Therapeutic techniques avoided most of the harsh measures taken with adults, favoring dietary treatment & locally applied medicines. Diagnosis was very limited, but over seventy five illnesses of children are named in medieval literature. The more readily used treatments were often genuinely effective, bizarre remedies being used as last resorts. Attitudes toward education stressed the avoidance of harsh treatment. Bias against women is widely evident. Pediatrics was actively studied throughout this period. W. H. Stoddard

26 of 35

Title: Repression and Change in the Sexual Life of Young People in Medieval and Early Modern Times
Author: Flandrin,-Jean-Louis
Journal: Journal-of-Family-History; 1977, 2, 3, fall, 196-210.
Abstract: In contrast to the notion of progressive sexual liberation in the West, juvenile sexual activity was increasingly repressed from the late Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century. Youth, long considered the time of legitimate sexual activity, became a time of obligatory continence in the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries. The mean age at marriage rose in France, especially for girls, up to the end of the eighteenth century. Boys had already married late, in the cities during the fifteenth century & were not bound to chastity since they frequented prostitutes freely. The closing of municipal brothels in the sixteenth century was a major act of repression. In the country, not only did betrothed couples live together in several regions, but even before engagement, boys & girls who were to be married could freely associate with each other, & they had the traditional means of birth control. Prenuptial frequentation & the cohabitation of engaged couples had been banned in all regions of France since the beginning of the seventeenth century. The increase in the number of unwed mothers & abandoned children since the middle of the seventeenth century in the cities, & the middle of the eighteenth century in the country, can be interpreted as a consequence of the closing of the brothels in the cities, & the breakdown of traditional behavior in the country. The repression of juvenile sexuality seems to have increased the habit of solitary masturbation, erotic reveries, & the analysis of feelings which constitutes the richness of eighteenth & nineteenth century western literature. 2 Appendices, Bibliography. AA Tr & Modified by A. Rubins

27 of 35

Title: The Concept of Childhood in the Middle Ages
Author: Kroll,-Jerome
Journal: Journal-of-the-History-of-the-Behavioral-Sciences; 1977, 13, 4, Oct, 384-393.
Abstract: The question is raised whether the Middle Ages held a view of the nature of childhood as distinct from adulthood. Evidence is offered from legal documents, medical writings, & church & monastic chronicles to support the viewpoint that the special nature of the child was perceived (although with great ambivalence) as being fragile, vulnerable, & naive, while also possessing a potential for closeness to God & the supernatural world. Modified HA

28 of 35

Title: Childrearing among the Lower Classes of Late Medieval England
Author: Hanawalt,-Barbara-A.
Journal: Journal-of-Interdisciplinary-History; 1977, 8, 1, summer, 1-22.
Abstract: The object was to investigate childrearing in lower class fourteenth-century England. The source is a unique one: the coroners' inquests into accidental & homicidal deaths. It is virtually the only source available for studying the childhood of the lower, nonliterate classes of the Middle Ages. The results of the investigation showed that the stages of child development indicated in the coroners' rolls are remarkably close to those blocked out by Erikson. Their motor development &, to a certain extent, their psychological development is reflected in the sort of accidents that they encountered. But emotional climate within the lower class household continues to be elusive. P. Aries's suggestion (Centuries of Childhood; a Social History of Family Life, New York: 1962) that children competed for their parents' affection with extended kin & neighbors may be correct. Homicide statistics certainly indicate that the emotional contacts which led to fatal attacks tended to be with fellow villagers & friends rather than family members.

Copyright (C) 1996, Sociofile. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents,including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.

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