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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.

«[This] book is a magnificent achievement, one of the best works on Poland-Lithuania published in the last decade.»
(Robert Frost, The Slavic Review Vol. 76 2017)

«The work should serve as a reference point for any researcher wishing to embark upon an analysis of family forms in East-Central and South-Eastern Europe. Its scrupulously built analysis, which leaves no potential explanatory pathway unexplored, is a refreshing departure from the norm.»
(Oana Sorescu-Iudean, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 65/2017)

«This magnum opus will serve in many ways as an example for current and future generations of historical demographers and family historians, and the importance of this work goes well beyond the region of study.»
(Paul Puschmann, Continuity and Change Vol. 33, Issue 1/2018)