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Rethinking East-Central Europe: family systems and co-residence in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Volume 1: Contexts and analyses – Volume 2: Data quality assessments, documentation, and bibliography


Mikołaj Szołtysek

This book reconstructs fundamental aspects of family organization across historical Poland-Lithuania, one of the largest political entities in early modern Europe. Using a plethora of quantitative measurements and demographic microsimulation, the author captures and elucidates the complex patterns of leaving home and life-cycle service, marriage and household formation, along with domestic group structures and living arrangements among different subpopulations of Poland-Lithuania, highlighting a variety of ways in which these patterns were nested in their respective local and regional contexts. By showing that at the end of the 18 th century at least three distinct family systems existed in the Polish-Lithuanian territories, Szołtysek challenges a number of orthodoxies in the ‘master narratives’ on the European geography of family forms of F. Le Play, J. Hajnal, P. Laslett, and their followers. Volume two of the book contains an extensive bibliography along with a thorough archival documentation of the census-like microdata used in the book, and provides detailed information on their quality and further technicalities pertaining to data analysis.
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6. Home-leaving patterns in historic Poland-Lithuania


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6.  Home-leaving patterns in historic Poland-Lithuania

6.1  Introduction

Leaving the parental home is one of the most important events of the family life course. As a major component of the individual transition to adulthood, it incorporates both residential and economic transitions from dependence to independence – such as moving from the family of orientation to a family of procreation – and moving from financial and economic subordination to an independent livelihood, with various semi-autonomous stages taking place in between. The home-leaving process is inherently ‘multi-stranded,’ and its character, timing, and sequenced order have direct relevance for a much broader range of social and demographic behaviors, including union formation, childbearing, labor force participation, interactions between siblings, and the size and structure of families and households (Modell et al. 1976; Kobrin-Goldscheider and Davanzo 1986; De Vos 1989; Iacovou 2002; Steckel 1996; Pooley and Turnball 1997; Holdsworth and Morgan 2005). As it marks the first adult stage of the life course, the timing of leaving home affects the pace at which young adults accumulate the skills and assets that may potentially determine when and whom they marry, as well as their economic prospects (Guinnane 1992; also Fertig 2005; Hartman 2004; De Moor and Van Zanden 2010a).

Accordingly, differences in the rationale and in the social situations surrounding leaving the parental home have great significance for the individuals, their families, and entire societies (Billari et al. 2001; Reher 1998). The separation of children from the...

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