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The Road to Independence

Leaving Home in Western and Eastern Societies, 16th-20th centuries


Frans van Poppel, Michel Oris and James Lee

While leaving home is a central issue in studies dealing with the family system in contemporary Europe and the USA, it has largely been neglected in historical studies. This book provides the first comprehensive overview of the way in which children in historical societies gained their independence from the parental generation. Apart from providing a wealth of descriptive information on this process and on its consequences in later life, a major strength of the volume lies in its conceptual insights. The chapters follow a common life-course framework which illuminates how the resources, needs, social ties and patterns of leaving home of children are shaped by earlier life experiences and the historical and cultural circumstances affecting them. The consideration of the causes and consequences of living without adult children in a period when people had fewer life options provides a refreshing perspective on contemporary processes where «voluntary» leaving home is more of an issue. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are used. The book is the product of a collaborative effort of researchers from eight different countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States). The comparative perspective is a key element in the various contributions.
Contents: Frans van Poppel/Michel Oris: Introduction – Kevin Schürer: Leaving Home in England and Wales 1850-1920 – Martin Dribe: Leaving Home as a Family Strategy in Times of Economic and Demographic Stress. The Case of Rural Scania, Sweden 1829-1866 – George Alter/Catherine Capron: Leavers and Stayers in the Belgian Ardennes – Renzo Derosas: A Family Affair. Marriage, Mobility, and Living Arrangements in Nineteenth-century Venice, 1850-1869 – Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux: Patterns of Leaving «House» in a 19th Century Stem-Family Society – Marco Breschi/Matteo Manfredini: Leaving the Family. Departures from the Household in an Italian Rural Context during the Nineteenth-Century – Satomi Kurosu: Who Leaves Home and Why? Daughters and Sons in Two Japanese Northeastern Villages, 1716-1870 – Mary Louise Nagata: Leaving the Village for Labor Migration in Early Modern Japan – Mary Jo Maynes: Leaving Home in Metaphor and Practice. The Roads to Social Mobility and Political Militancy in European Working-Class Autobiography – Tamara K. Hareven/Kathleen Adams: Leaving Home: Individual or Family Strategies – Colin G. Pooley/Jean Turnbull: Migration From the Parental Home in Britain since the Eighteenth Century – Hilde Bras/Jan Kok: «Naturally, Every Child Was Supposed to Work». Determinants of the Leaving Home Process in the Netherlands, 1850-1940.