Annales de démographie historique; Aline Johner, Loraine Chappuis, and Arno Haldemann (Web)
Proposals by: 15.12.2023
Since the 1970s scholarly works have studied the history of the family, firstly focusing on its structures, and on material as well as symbolic transmissions (Burguiere et al.: 1986; Levi: 1985; Laslett/Wall: 1972; Delille: 1985; Dionigi: 2016; Shorter: 1977; Stone: 1977). More recently the focus has been shifted to familial figures such as fathers (Delumeau/Roche: 2000; Doyon: 2005, 2009; Grace: 2015), mothers (Berthiaud: 2012/2013/2014; Brouard-Arends: 1991; Knibiehler/Fouquet: 1980), children (Becchi/Julia: 1998; Cunningham: 1995; Morel: 2009/2020), or grandparents (Gourdon: 2001) and to the relationships within the family and kinship (Atkins: 2001; Alfani et al.: 2015; Lemercier: 2005; Lett: 2004; Sabean et al.: 2007; Trévisi: 2008). In comparison, couples have drawn less attention. Yet they really are the foundations upon which the family is built: they determine its formation, its reproduction, its domestic politics, and all the transmissions that occur within familial bonds, may they be material, symbolical or cultural.
To be true, many scholars did study couples or rather the theological, moral, legal, philosophical, and political discourses led upon them and more generally on marriage (Gaudement: 1987; Lanzinger: 2015; Melchior-Bonnet: 2009. See foremost the synthesis Burguière: 2011). However, few scholars have studied the social history of the couples themselves. The couples that have been observed share the particularity to have been entangled with illegitimacy: they were easier to grasp historically because of the many problems stemming from such situations that were often complex and, therefore, prone to come to the attention of institutions (see the recent works of Chappuis: 2022; Evans: 2004; Kamp/Schmidt: 2018; Philip: 2023; Vermeesch: 2018). Similarly, very interesting works have been led on couples that experienced conjugal violence and rape (Foyster: 2005; Frost: 2008; Murphy: 2019; Philip: 2020; Regina: 2015). To some noticeable exceptions (for instance Daumas: 1996/2004; Ruggiu: 2007), thus, one is left to deduce the norm from the margins, the illicit, or from failures.
To the contrary, this call suggests focusing the attention on the social experience of couples deemed licit. Incidentally, the licitness must be discussed and carefully defined, as it is … read more (PDF).