2014_1_Szoltysek-Gruber

pdfVolume 3 Issue 1 CONTENTS

Mikołaj Szołtysek, Siegfried Gruber

Living Arrangements of the Elderly in Two Eastern European Joint-Family Societies: Poland–Lithuania around 1800 and Albania in 1918

 

This paper re-addresses the nature of joint-family systems in historic Eastern Europe. It identifies two “hotspot” areas of family complexity and uses census microdata to shed light on attributes of household organization and living arrangements of the elderly in a comparative perspective. A detailed examination of various demographic components of the joint-family systems under discussion reveals important inter-societal differences and suggests that “de-essentialization” of the notion of the “joint-family system” might be necessary when discussing the geography of family patterns in this part of the continent.

 

Keywords: historical demography, household structure, living arrangements, co-residence, joint-family, Eastern Europe

Clarifying the Question

The joint family has long been seen as one of the most peculiar living arrangements in historic Europe. While a preference for residential independence in adulthood (i.e. for residing in small, conjugal groups),1 has long been viewed as the norm in Europe, the underlying principles of joint-family coresidence centered on extensive family solidarity, a high degree of parental control over adolescent children, and the subordination of some groups of individuals to others within the domestic space. It therefore comes as no surprise that historians have commonly assumed that the appearance of joint families in a given area, society, or culture must have resulted from economic, demographic, and cultural constraints which prevented people from indulging in the (allegedly) universal preference for small and simple households. In their explanations of the economics of joint-family arrangements, historians assert that the landholding patterns typical of sharecroppers and some serfs and the demands of the pastoral economy in mountainous settings fostered the formation of big, laterally extended multiple-family residence groups.2 When seeking to explain the cultural factors underlying these family arrangements, scholars argue that patrilinealism, closely linked with corporate (joint) ownership structures that negate individual property rights, probably created mental structures that favored family solidarity, cohabitation, and obedience.3 It was generally assumed that in the absence of these two constraining forces, the “aversion” to joint-family living arrangements4 would find expression and the “instinctive wishes” of the population could be realized.

Despite a lack of clarity about the exact meaning of the term,5 “joint family” (or extended family) has often been used to describe laterally extended multiple-family domestic groups in societies widely dispersed across historic Eurasia.6 Early scholars of historical family patterns argued that joint families could be found in many different societies of Eurasia, from the nomadic tribes of the Middle East to the Slavic serf agriculturalists and the ancient civilizations of the Far East.7 Indeed, more recent research has revealed that legal and residential arrangements that followed joint-family rules existed in many parts of historic Europe, including in early medieval Germanic societies,8 fifteenth-century Tuscany, early modern France,9 nineteenth-century northern Italy,10 Finland,11 Russia,12 and parts of the Balkans.13 Until quite recently, the joint-household system was the most prevalent family arrangement in the world’s most populous agricultural societies, China and India. Referring to such diverse cultural areas, Berkner and Shaffer14 argue that anyone reading ethnographic descriptions of joint-family living “cannot help but be struck by the broad similarities.” These common features include the following: the coresidence of two or more nuclear families; the patrilineal succession of family titles and property; a tendency to keep the sons on the patrimony and virilocal household formation; a tendency to unify the joint domestic group around some common economic project; a tendency toward fission at some point in the developmental cycle; a marginal position of female siblings; and a tendency to recruit workers from among kin rather than from among wage laborers.15

Demographers have been fond of making such essentialist claims and have often used the concept of the extended family to explain worldwide demographic differentials. Accordingly, demographers have contrasted stylized versions of the joint-family system with nuclear or stem-family systems in order to establish a theoretical foundation on the basis of which to link different family types to various demographic outcomes. Since the work of Lorimer,16 Davis,17 and Davis and Blake18 there has been broad acceptance among scholars of the assumption that extended or joint families encourage high fertility.19 Hajnal pushed the analysis toward a specification of the rules of household formation and distinguished two main family forms. He also emphasized an East–West divide, contrasting the “joint-household (formation) system” of the major Eurasian societies with the Northwestern European system.20 To exemplify the characteristics of the joint-family pattern, Hajnal cited data from various historical periods from a wide range of countries with very different conditions, including India, Nepal, China, Italy, Croatia, Russia, and Hungary.21 More recently, Das Gupta drew “a stylized contrast between the stem-family systems of Northern Europe and the joint family of North India” in order to highlight their essential features as determinants of divergent health behaviors and health outcomes.22

While the stereotypical belief that in past centuries the elderly lived out their twilight years nestled in the bosom of their families has generally been refuted over the course of the last two decades,23 the perception that complex family societies performed welfare functions better than Western nuclear family based societies has been particularly resistant to change. Reflecting views that have been prevalent since the nineteenth-century writings of Le Play,24 family historians and demographers have continued to assert that nuclear-, stem-, and joint-family societies performed certain welfare functions for their members and coped with economic hardships in particular ways.25 The residential patterns of the elderly in joint-family societies were seen as representing a combined effect of the authority structure (with elderly males at the apex) and the associated family and kin-based approach to welfare provision.26 Regardless of when and where they lived, most joint families were portrayed as private institutions that encouraged solidarity and support for the elderly and other vulnerable individuals.27 Culture-specific values supported that system, especially those stressing family solidarity and a greater sense of obligation towards members of the kinship group.28

It is in this context that the concept of patriarchy has often been evoked, becoming a convenient shorthand for the presumed distinguishing trait of joint-family relations. The term has often included many different elements, such as the dominance of patrilineal descent, patrilocal or patrivirilocal residence after marriage, power relations that favour the dominance of men over women and the older generation over the younger generation, customary laws that sanctioned these patterns, the absence of an interfering state that could mitigate their influence, and an inert traditional society that emanated from these conditions.29 Combinations of these elements have been used to explain the peculiarity of the joint-family residence patterns in the East and Southeast of Europe relative to the West.30

Although many of these claims are no doubt accurate, the assumption that all joint-family societies are basically the same is, in our view, a gross oversimplification. Why would we think that societies that differ in terms of their cultural metrics, environmental characteristics, and place-specific historical trajectories adhere to the same rules of joint-family living, or that these rules would apply to the same extent in the everyday lives of their members? Without denying that it is possible to identify some essential and generally accepted features of extended families, this paper re-addresses the nature of joint-family systems in Europe by looking at the differences between two exemplary joint-family societies. Instead of treating them as inherently similar, we argue that a detailed examination of various demographic components of the joint-family systems under discussion may uncover important differences and hence suggest the extent to which a “de-essentialization” of the notion of the joint family might be necessary.31

Methodological Issues

This paper identifies two “hot spot” areas of family complexity in historical Eastern Europe and uses census and census-like microdata to describe the residential situations of the elderly in two populations governed by a joint-household formation regime. To compare the living arrangements of the elderly, we used measures commonly applied in demographic and family history studies of aging populations.32 However, we also proposed several indicators which have, to our knowledge, never or only rarely been used in the literature. As our focus is on the comparative morphology of residence patterns in joint-family systems, issues related to the origins of the joint family in the regions under examination or to the factors that contributed to the system’s persistence are not discussed.33

However, because our investigation of the situation of the elderly was based solely on the observation of their residential units registered in the listings, our analysis has certain limitations. The coresident family members may have represented only a small fraction of the kin to whom an elderly individual could turn for economic, physical, or emotional support, and coresidence as such may have been an imperfect proxy for the actual sharing of resources within domestic groups.34 In most developed countries, as well as in some historical societies, the coresidence of the elderly with their kin is just one of many transfer flows involving the aged. The other sources of support are generally in the form of social transfers (pensions, health payments, home care, etc.).35 While we do not wish to ignore these problems, some reservations regarding their implications for our study should be stated. In joint-family societies, household membership strategies were conventionally oriented toward an extensive recruitment of kin, which meant that many (if not most) domestic groups retained their complex structure through a continuous sequence of generations.36 Although it is unlikely that even highly complex domestic groups would encompass all of the kin available to an average “ego,” the accretion of relatives was normally substantial enough in such an environment that we can be certain that, in most cases, coresident kin would have been the most significant “others” from the perspective of an individual. Moreover, in joint-family societies in which domestic units act as property and labor cooperatives, the sharing of physical space was highly related to having the right to the use and ownership of a concrete part of the communal property. Although coresidence may not have always indicated the flow of support from the younger to the older generations, the economic and physical assistance derived from relatives who coresided was likely to have been more beneficial to the aged than the assistance provided by kin who lived close by.37 The coresidence of the elderly with kin had an even greater social and economic significance for pre-industrial rural populations, among which institutionalized social transfers were precarious and investments in human capital were low.

Our analysis relies on two additional operational assumptions. First, we assume there was a hierarchy of caring contexts within domestic groups, with different categories of relatives providing different types of support.38 Second, we assume that the more dense the environment of coresident kin surrounding the elderly—i.e. the larger the group of coresident immediate kin—the greater the potential benefits that could flow to the aged.

In this paper, we only deal with the population living in family (“private”) households. Unlike in historic western Poland, institutional households (often misleadingly called “hospitals”) were largely nonexistent in the eastern part of the country in the eighteenth century. Institutional households were equally scarce in Albania, and the few that existed were omitted from the analysis that follows.

Societies and Data39

To investigate the residential situations of the aged in the two exemplary joint-family societies, we used historical census microdata from two different regions of Eastern Europe: the eastern borderlands of the Polish–-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the end of the eighteenth century and Albania in 1918. The Albanian population census of 1918 and the Polish–Lithuanian database are currently the only existing databases that are large enough to allow us to investigate the demographic conditions and household composition in historical Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

 

Regions

House-
holds

Population

No. of parishes (estates)

No. of settlements

Eastern Poland–-Lithuania, 1791–95

13,885

83,727

143

511

Albania 1918

14,937

82,646

n/a

850

Albania 1918 (weighted)

67,056

390,428

n/a

 

 

Table 1. Basic data distribution. Source: Karl Kaser, Siegfried Gruber, Gentiana Kera, Enriketa Pandelejmoni (2011) 1918 census of Albania, Version 0.1 [SPSS file]. Graz.; Mikołaj Szołtysek, CEURFAMFORM database, Version 0.1 [SPSS file]. Rostock, 2011.

 

On the Polish side, the present study makes use of data for 13,885 peasant households from the eastern territories of historical Poland–Lithuania (Table 1).40 These data were derived from two types of population listings enumerating individuals by residential units.41 The first group of listings (37 percent) comes from the surviving remnants of the censuses carried out by the Polish Diet (Sejm) between 1790 and 1791. The second group of census microdata for the Commonwealth came from the so-called 5th Russian “soul revision.” Designed as periodic tax censuses to be used by the central government to assess the poll tax (which all male peasants in Russia were liable to pay), the “revision” was taken in the Belarusian heartland of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania after the third partition of Poland in 1795. Despite being ordered by an alien administration for the Polish territories, the 1795 revision in Poland–Lithuania followed the traditional Polish concepts of census-taking, rather than the official Russian principles of taxation.

map1 fmt
Map 1. Spatial distribution of Polish–Lithuanian data. Map design: J. Suproniuk for CEURFAMFORM Database.
The area enumerated in the listings are clustered into four territorial groupings located on either side of the historical Polish–Lithuanian border of the Commonwealth (Map 1). To the north of this border, there are two regions that stretch over the central and southern parts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (regions 1 and 2). The second of these, region 2, constitutes one of the largest European swamplands, known as Poles’ya. To the southwest, region 3 covers a portion of the historic territory of Red Ruthenia, which today is at the intersection of Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland. Region 4 consists of the Żytomierski district in the former Kiev Voivodship on the southeastern fringes of the Commonwealth, now in Ukraine. However, for the purposes of this study, the four regions are treated jointly for socioeconomic, demographic, cultural reasons. All of the listings discussed here precede the abolition of serfdom in the territories in question. The serf population under consideration was essentially non-Polish and non-Catholic, and was mainly comprised of Uniates (Greek Catholics). Ethnically, the population was mainly Ruthenian (which meant they spoke various dialects typical of “proto-Ukrainians” and “proto-Belarusians”).42 All of the regions also had lower population densities and less stringent forms of the manorial economy based on the forced labor of the peasantry than the western and southernmost territories of Poland.

From January 1916 onward, northern and central Albania was occupied by the Austro–Hungarian army, and a population census was taken on March 1, 1918. The checking and the processing of the data had to be stopped due to the planned withdrawal of the army in October. The order to destroy all of the census material was ignored except in some areas in the south of the occupied territory. The surviving material, which covers the major part of the country, therefore includes people who lived in roughly 1,800 villages, towns, and cities in the territory administered by Austria–Hungary during World War I (see Table 1 and Map 2). The census director published basic tables in 1922 with funds provided by the Albanian government.

Albanien 1918 und jetzt fmt

Map 2. Territory of Albania covered by the 1918 census.

 

The population in the Albanian census was predominantly Muslim (78.2 percent), with a Catholic minority in the north (18.6 percent) and an Orthodox minority in the south (3.1 percent). The ethnicity of the population was almost exclusively Albanian. The economy was dominated by agriculture and the urban population made up only 13.2 percent of the total. Very few Albanian adults who lived outside of the cities were literate.

The majority of individuals in our collection were listed by domestic groups comprising all of the people occupying separate residential units, consisting not only of the core family of the head of the household, but also his immediate and more distant relatives, as well as coresident servants and inmates or lodgers.

We recognize, of course, that a comparison of a phenomenon in Albania in 1918 with phenomena in Poland–Lithuania in the course of the eighteenth century may raise some questions. Sklar has noted that marriage behaviors among the populations of the Czech, Baltic, and Polish regions differed markedly from those of people in the Balkans during the demographic transition.43 However, while our country-specific data span long periods of time, from a demographic perspective both of these populations are pre-transitional. While the Belarusian population exhibited the highest fertility levels in Eastern Europe well into the 1920s, Albania was the last country in Europe to enter the demographic transition (i.e. after the World War II).44 The age-standardized marital fertility ratios of both the Polish eastern borderlands at the end of eighteenth century and early twentieth-century Albania were very similar (60–61).45 Female nuptiality patterns were also very similar (female SMAM of 18.4–18.6), although there were significant differences between the male nuptiality patterns in the two locations (the male SMAM was 27.2 in Albania and 22 in eastern Poland). Apart from the age gaps between spouses, the major difference between the two populations appears to have been the share of elderly people aged 60 and older, which was higher in Albania than in Poland (nine percent in comparison with six percent).46

The populations covered by our listings were joint-family societies per se, with a large share of individuals living in joint-family constellations at some point in their lives. Data from the Polish borderlands and Albania displayed some of the highest indicators of joint-family coresidence out of more than one-hundred census populations from around the globe.47 Further proof of the prevalence of joint-family coresidence in the areas under examination is found in ethnographic accounts and historic-anthropological research. According to Kaser, Albania historically belonged to the area of the Balkans where patrilocal household cycle complexity was prevalent.48 The area covered by Albania was characterized by a distinctive patriarchal cultural background that has been called the Balkan patriarchy.49 The basic elements of this cultural pattern were strong blood ties, ancestor worship, patrilocality, patrilineal kinship structures, the levying of a bride price, and the waging of blood feuds.50

The eastern lands of historical Poland were also characterized by the longevity of archaic forms of communal social organization based on male ancestral kinship. These familial-ancestral communes were believed to resemble closely the well-known South Slavic institution of zadruga.51 The patriarchal model of intra-familial relations prevailed, with full economic power being held by the commune’s head, usually the oldest male. When a head died, the position was passed on to the next-oldest male in the group.52 In the period under investigation, large agnatic descent groups were already at different stages of disintegration, mainly due to frequent efforts by landlords to split up large groups and create individual families.53 Nevertheless, archaic extended family patterns were still going strong in the Polish eastern borderlands, although the patriarchal family group at the time was confined primarily to individuals who jointly inhabited one domestic group (“dym”). Despite increasing tendencies toward household division, even in the second half of the nineteenth century large, multigenerational families had not yet disappeared from the Polish eastern territories.54

 

 

Rural Albania, 1918

Poland–Lithuania, 1791–95

Category

Frequency

Percent

Frequency

Percent

Solitaries

2,590

3.9

78

0.6

No family

2,274

3.4

79

0.6

Simple family household

26,177

39.0

6,644

47.9

Extended family household

12,619

18.8

1,841

13.3

Stem family household

7,630

11.4

2,705

19.5

Joint family household

15,763

23.5

2,515

18.1

Indeterminate

3

0

23

0.2

Total households

67,056

100

13,885

100

 

Table 2. Household structure in Albania and Poland–Lithuania. Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania; Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”. Hammel–Laslett scheme slightly modified. All lineally extended multiple-family households with more than two conjugal family units are treated as “joint families’.”

 

To further illustrate the widespread character of joint-family coresidence in the societies under examination, three measures of joint-family coresidence were applied to our data and presented in tabulated or graphical form.55 The first measure applies a slightly modified Hammel–Laslett scheme to the populations under investigation, while the other two move away from a sole concentration on the household and focus instead on the distribution of individuals and CFUs among different types of domestic groups.56

In Table 2 a canonical Hammel–Laslett scheme was used to present a distribution of households by type in Albania and Poland–Lithuania. The scheme was modified in order to give a better representation of the domestic group structures that fall into the category of joint families. All of the households that belong to Laslett category 5 were divided into two groups (stem versus joint).57 Both datasets show a high prevalence of non-nuclear residence groups. Extended, stem, and joint domestic groups account for more than half of all of the units in both Albania and Poland–Lithuania. While the overall share of multiple-family units was larger in the Polish borderlands than in Albania (38 percent and 35 percent, respectively), the number of domestic groups displaying joint structure according to our definition was slightly higher in the Balkans. The proportions of joint-family households in both datasets were very high compared to other sites in historic Europe, although they are smaller than in the Russian paradigmatic case of the joint family studied by Czap.58 Among Tuscan households in 1427—which have long been regarded as exemplifying joint-family structures in late medieval Europe—only 15 percent were multiple-family households, and only eight percent of those were composed either of two married brothers or three or more couples. Among the Indian rural households in the mid-twentieth century, no more than 12 to 13 percent would have been classified as joint families according to our definition.59 Before Mishino’s data were published in the early 1980s, the highest overall incidence of joint families in historic Europe was found for an estate in eighteenth-century Kurland, where the incidence was about 17 percent.60

 

24109

Figure 1a. Household structure by age of household head (male heads only) Poland–Lithuania 1791–1795. Source: Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”.

24116

Figure 1b. Household structure by age of household head (male heads only) Albania 1918. Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania.

It is generally understood that the distribution of households by structure can obscure the actual fluctuation over the developmental cycles of domestic groups.61 A number of scholars have asserted that these Eastern European domestic groups underwent no cyclical changes from one household form to another, but rather maintained the multiple-family form over the entire life-cycle of the group.62 However, neither the Albanian nor the Polish–Lithuanian data confirm this assumption. When all of the households are ordered by the age of the male household head (Figures 1a and 1b), then a clear upward-trend in the propensity to form joint domestic groups over the family lifecycle becomes visible, with much higher proportions of joint families found among older heads. Some differences between Albania and Poland–Lithuania are also discernable. The accretion of additional family units in Albania occurred earlier in the lifecycle of domestic groups than in the Polish borderlands. Among Polish–Lithuanians, a factor that also contributed to a sharp decline in the share of simple families among middle-aged heads was the increasing tendency to form households composed of only two conjugal-family units, some of which then obviously turned into joint-family households. It appears, however, that the number of joint families in both societies was significant enough that we can conclude that joint-household formation rules were well-integrated into the social norms regarding domestic group recruitment and membership.

24136

Figure 2b. Population by household type membership (sexes combined), Albania 1918. Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania”.

24125

Figure 2a. Population by household type membership (sexes combined), Poland–Lithuania 1791–95. Source: Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”. Notes: Categories ‘No family’ and ‘Solitaries’ omitted (below 0.5 percent across all age groups).

While a substantial fraction of the population spent most of their lives in joint-family environments in both societies (Figures 2a–2b and 3a–3b), the percentage of people in this category was consistently higher in Albania than in eighteenth-century Eastern Poland, where the share tended to fluctuate. But in order to understand better the differences between these two joint-family societies, we need to look at the distribution of conjugal-family units (CFUs) among the different types of domestic group structures based on the age of the family unit head.63 The proportion of CFUs living in joint-family households in Albania generally held steady at around 40 to 50 percent, with only very negligible changes occurring as the CFU head grew older (Figure 3b). Household divisions were obviously occurring less frequently in this society. By contrast, a clear lifecycle pattern of joint-family coresidence can be seen in Poland–Lithuania (Figure 3a). There, the proportion of CFUs residing in joint groups decreased substantially as the head progressed from early adulthood to his mid-fifties.64 While a reverse pattern could be observed after that age, joint coresidence was never as common among units with older heads as it was among family groups with younger heads. Household divisions must have occurred at a very rapid pace among adult Polish–Lithuanians, with a large number of conjugal units gaining residential independence before their heads had reached their late forties. Then, after the head reached the age of 55, the living arrangements of a CFU often shifted again, with many of these groups moving from residing in simple units to living in stem or joint families. These differences in lifecycle developments in Albania and historic Poland may have had important implications for the living arrangements of the elderly in these two societies. It is likely that the delayed division of households in Albania resulted in a considerably higher number and wider range of relatives living in domestic groups that included older people than in Poland.

24143

Figure 3a. Conjugal family units (CFUs) by household type membership, Poland–Lithuania 1791–95. Source: Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”. Notes: Categories ‘No family’ and ‘Solitaries’ omitted (below 0.3 percent across all age groups).

24150

Figure 3b. Conjugal family units (CFUs) by household type membership, Albania 1918. Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania.

Living Arrangements of the Aged

Demographers and family historians have devoted considerable attention to measures of living arrangements among the elderly.65 The most common approaches take into account household headship rates among the elderly, the relationship of the older person to the household head, the older person’s coresidence with married or unmarried children, and/or whether the household in which the elderly person lives has a simple or an extended structure.66 In the analysis that follows, we merge these approaches67 and propose a wider palette of quantified indicators for investigating the position of the elderly. After discussing the results we obtained using these standard measures, we consider some additional tools that may provide us with more insights into the morphology of the residence patterns of the elderly in truly complex family systems like the ones we are dealing with here.

When we look at the living arrangements of the elderly, kin availability plays an important role. The patterns of kin availability are determined by age- and sex-specific mortality, fertility, marriage and remarriage rates, and the age differences between spouses.68 To capture the demographic effects of the availability of kin on the residence patterns of the aged in the populations under examination we use a very simple measure that can be calculated on the basis of the age structures of our populations. The so-called “availability ratio” (AR)69 is the ratio of members of the population aged 15–59 to members of the population aged 60 and over. The former population represents the pool of available individuals with whom the elderly could co-reside. The AR was 10.1 for Poland–Lithuania, but it was only 5.8 for Albania. Assuming this finding is not entirely an artifact caused by the under-registration of certain groups of individuals or a consequence of the age heaping and age exaggeration in the Albanian population, it appears that in Albania there were fewer younger people available for potential coresidence with the elderly.

We begin our analysis by classifying elderly individuals by their relationship to the household head (Table 3). The advantage of this approach is that it allows us to look at the percentage of older people who head a household in conjunction with other features of the living arrangements of the elderly.

The headship rates were uniformly high for men in both locations, but they were much lower for women. In addition, in both datasets far more women lived as parents (or as parents-in-law) in the households of children or children-in-law than men. At this point, however, the similarities between the patterns in historic Poland and in Albania come to an end. While one-sixth of the older women in Poland–Lithuania still held a headship, the corresponding share was drastically smaller in Albania. This seems to indicate that due to a “patriarchal bias,” women in Albania had fewer chances of heading a household as widows. The fewer household divisions also explain why elderly Albanian men were found more frequently in the other household membership categories—particularly those of other relatives and siblings of the head or the head’s spouse—than elderly eighteenth-century Ruthenian men. Moreover, relative to their counterparts in Albania, both elderly men and women in Poland–Lithuania were more likely to reside in a household headed by a non-relative, even though this arrangement was still rare.

 

Relationship to household head

Poland–Lithuania 1791–95

Albania 1918

Males

Females

Males

Females

Head

88.6

16.1

79.3

1.7

Spouse

0

34.3

0.1

16.1

Parent or parent-in-law

4.9

39.0

5.2

58.6

Sibling or sibling-in-law

1.5

1.9

5.8

5.8

Other relative

1.2

1.9

6.9

14.2

Non-relative

3.8

6.7

1.4

2.3

Lives alone

0.1

0.1

1.3

1.4

Total

100 (N=2639)

100 (N=1853)

100 (N=16391)

100 (N=17913)

 

Table 3. Elderly (60+) relationship to head of household by sex. Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania; Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”. Note: Albania: weighted population.

 

The major patterns shown in Table 3 allow an initial, tentative hypothesis regarding gender-based differences in the well-being of the elderly in the populations under examination. Assuming the domestic groups in the societies in question were structured hierarchically—and that the household head was the key decision-maker regarding access to resources and used his or her power to ensure that other household members acted in accordance with his or her wishes—it appears that old age was much more advantageous for men than for women in both societies. As only a minority of women were entitled to head households at older ages, relatively few of them were able to exert direct control over decision-making in their domestic group, and this happened much more often in Poland–Lithuania than in Albania. Thus, the well-being of women was dependent on the nature of their membership in a household; i.e., on their placement in the overall web of intra-household relationships.

Before we attempt to deepen our understanding of this issue, we should categorize the elderly householders by sex and the structure of their domestic group (Table 4). Our goal is to determine whether female-headed households were structurally different from male-headed households and whether these structural differences translated into potential vulnerability for older women.

 

 

Poland–Lithuania 1791–95

Albania 1918

Household category

Male heads (%)

Female heads (%)

Male heads (%)

Female heads (%)

Solitaries

0.2

0.7

1.7

48.6

No family

0.2

0.3

1.2

14.4

Simple family

25.3

19.0

31.8

20.2

Extended family

9.9

29.0

10.8

12.1

Stem family

36.0

20.0

21.9

2.3

Joint family

27.9

31.0

32.6

2.3

Indeterminate

0.5

0

0

0

Total

100 (N=2340)

100 N=300)

100 (N=13211)

100 (N=555)

 

Table 4. Household structure of elderly heads (60+) by sex of householder. Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania; Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”.

 

The figures in Table 4 show significant differences between male- and female-headed households in both datasets; however, these differences are manifested in a very specific way. In Poland–Lithuania, female householders were much more likely than male ones to head extended domestic groups and were less likely to head stem families. The first gap is largely attributable to the combined effects of higher rates of remarriage among men and the excess male mortality at older ages, but it points to the relatively strong position of widowed women in the joint-family societies of historic Poland–Lithuania. It is particularly striking that, in Poland, the relative shares of heads living in solitary and joint-family households were similar among men and women. Again, the rather high number of female heads of extended and joint-family units in eastern Poland–Lithuania suggests that the widowed “matriarch” occupied a relatively strong position in the joint-family societies of historic Poland.

The Albanian patterns were quite different. Male-headed households in Albania were far more likely than female-headed households to have been extended and multiple-family arrangements. However, the most striking gender difference in terms of household structure is that women headed almost all of the solitary and “no-family” domestic groups (which represented three-quarters of all of the units headed by women). Thus, unlike in Poland–Lithuania, most of the elderly female heads in Albania were not co-residing with relatives, and they might have been detached from wider kin groups in several important respects.70 However, before we attempt to explain this phenomenon, we should point out an interesting interplay between the figures presented in Tables 3 and 4. Whereas women in Poland–Lithuania were much more prone to head independent households than women in the Balkans, women in Albania—a strictly patriarchal society at the time—were much more likely to have lived alone than their Polish counterparts.71 This issue definitely requires further investigation, but the most obvious explanation is that women were only able to act as household head in Albania in cases in which no male person was available in the household, and such households were rather negligible in number.

While they are easy to calculate and are potentially informative, the research approaches that focus on the household position of the elderly (based on the relationship to the head) and on the composition of older people’s households are obviously insufficient for a description of the entire spectrum of intra-household relationships among elderly people. Although the connection to the household head is definitely the most important principle structuring relationships within domestic groups, it is not the only one in which the coresidents were involved. To explore these issues more fully, we need a classification scheme that takes into account relationships that were not tied to the head and allows us to consider the relationships between older individuals and other members of the domestic group in which they live,72 at least in a dyadic form. For this purpose, we have used a classification scheme that allocates individuals according to whether they were members of a core-family group, which may include unmarried children living with at least one parent, married couples, and lone parents. People who were not members of families are classified in three ways, according to whether they lived with relatives, with non-relatives only, or alone. It should be emphasized that, in this classification, the category of relative is not defined by a specific relationship to the household head, but by the existence of a relationship between the elderly person and members of the household other than his or her children or spouse. The focus is therefore on the individual and not on the household, and relatives are identified not by their relationship to the head of the household, but by their relationship to any household member in the absence of closer family ties.73 The comparison of Polish–Lithuanian and Albanian populations is presented in Table 5.

 

 

Poland–Lithuania 1791–95

Albania 1918

Type of relationship (“lives as”)

Males

Females

Males

Females

Child

0

0.1

0.4

0.2

Spouse

69.5

36.8

77.7

19.0

Lone parent

26.8

56.3

15.8

68.4

Other kin

1.6

2.5

3.4

8.7

Other non-kin

2.0

4.3

1.4

2.3

Lives alone

0.1

0.1

1.3

1.4

Total

100 (N=2639)

100 (N=1853)

100 (N=16,391)

100 (N=17,913)

 

Table 5. Dyadic relationships in the households by sex and region. Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania; Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”.

 

The allocation patterns of older persons to different categories represented in Table 5 are generally very similar in both societies, with more elderly men living with spouses and more women being classified as “lone parents.” However, the differences in the numeric intensity of these patterns are probably more important. First, it should be noted that in Albania, over 80 percent of older women were living without a spouse (potentially the most important source of support, at least in old age), compared with 63 percent in Poland–Lithuania; which again represents a clear effect of the age gap between spouses in Albania. Both men and women in Albania were more likely to live without coresident children than their counterparts in Poland–Lithuania, although the trend was stronger among women than men (14.4 percent of women versus 6.9 percent of men).

 

 

Poland–Lithuania 1791–95

Females living with/as

N (=100%)

% living with adult child (16+)

% living with married child

% living with unmarried or widowed child

Spouse

681

87.7

72.1

54.9

Lone parent

1044

95.4

84.5

40.3

Albania 1918

Females living with/as

N (=100%)

% living with adult child (16+)

% living with married child

% living with unmarried or widowed child

Spouse

691

73.2

55.9

62.0

Lone parent

2343

86.6

70.0

42.5

 

Table 6. Selected dyadic relationships by category of coresident offspring (female population only). Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania; Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”.

 

To better assess the potential vulnerability of older Albanian and Polish–Lithuanian women, it is useful to distinguish between the different types of children coresiding with elderly females in the two settings. For the calculations presented in Table 6, two categories of women who could have lived with children in the same premises (“spouses” and “lone parents” in Table 5) were further subdivided into those who lived with adult children, at least one married child, and unmarried and widowed children (as these categories partly overlap, the given percentages do not sum up to 100). It thus appears that, relative to their counterparts in Albania, women in Poland–Lithuania were more likely to have been living with a husband and were more likely to have been coresiding with adult and married children. The difference between these two sites is equally revealing when coresidence with adult and married children is examined for women classified as lone parents. In Poland–Lithuania, women in this category co-resided with adult and married offspring 10 to 15 percent more often than in Albania.

 

Lives as

Relationship to the household head

N (=100%)

Head

Spouse

Parent or parent-in-law

Sibling or sibling-in-law

Other relative

Non-relative

Lives alone

 

Poland–Lithuania 1791–95

Child

0

0

0

100

0

0

0

1

Spouse

0

93

2

1

1

3

0

681

Lone parent

28

0

68

1

0

2

0

1044

Other kin

7

0

0

30

52

11

0

46

Other
non-kin

0

0

0

0

0

100

0

79

Lives alone

0

0

0

0

0

0

100

2

 

Albania 1918

Child

0

0

0

28

72

0

0

43

Spouse

0

84

7

3

5

0

0

3400

Lone parent

2

0

83

4

11

0

0

12,261

Other kin

5

1

5

23

64

1

0

1553

Other
non-kin

6

0

0

0

0

94

0

409

Lives alone

0

0

0

0

0

0

100

247

 

Table 7. Dyadic relationships of elderly women by individual household position. Source: Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”; Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania.

 

We can perform an even more detailed accounting of the living arrangements of the elderly if we combine the information provided above in Table 5 with the pattern of relationships to the head of household. This approach is based on the assumption that dyadic relationships between individuals within domestic groups can also be structured hierarchically. In other words, it might be assumed that lone parenting, for example, may be framed differently in terms of the flow of resources and support depending on whether a lone parent is a household head, a head’s relative, or a stranger.

Again, the cross-classifications of the various relationships of older people in the two societies are generally similar, particularly among men. However, among women, some interesting differences can be observed (Table 7). The share of women who were lone parents in Poland–Lithuania was highly concentrated among two household statuses: the head and the parental generation (including the parents-in-law). At the same time, the share of female lone parents who headed a household was almost six times lower in the Balkans, and lone mothers in Albania were predominantly clustered around the head’s parents. One possible interpretation of these findings is that Polish lone mothers were receiving more resources from the younger generation; i.e., they were receiving intra-household support. It is important to note, however, that in the Balkans, the authority of the female spouse of the head normally increased only with the age of the woman, and often culminated in the woman achieving the position of the respected mother of the new “patriarch.” This does not fit in with the image of the subordinated, vulnerable, and fully dependent elderly woman.74 Nevertheless, even if we accept that the underrepresentation of Albanian widowed mothers among household heads was counterbalanced by their equally strong position after stepping down from co-headship, we still have to explain the finding that some 10 to 15 percent of lone parents among Albanian women were not mothers or even siblings of the heads, but were more distant relatives of the head couple. It is not entirely unrealistic to argue that a widow’s relationship with her children and the flow of resources between her and her children would have been framed by the status of their respective family units with respect to the core family of the head and his close relatives. Inequality and mistreatment may have arisen in such contexts, especially given that Albanian women often were not surrounded by their adult offspring.

We have already noted that divergences in the life-cycle patterns of domestic groups in Albania and Poland–Lithuania probably had an effect on the number of coresident kin to the elderly. Unless excess mortality took a toll, older Albanians should have had a considerably higher number and a wider range of relatives present in their households. Is it possible to find hard evidence that confirms this assumption?

For the purpose of exploring this issue, the unweighted average of the distribution of households by size commonly labeled “mean household size” needs to be distinguished from another related measure, the “size of household of the average member of the population” (“mean experienced household size”) (Table 8).75

 

Region

Sex

M(E)HS

No. Of adults

All
relatives

Spouse

Children

Sibling

Nephew

Cousin

Grand-children

Poland–Lithuania 1791–95

males

7.07

4,60

3,36

0.68

1.36

0.07

0.04

0.00

0.05

females

7.13

4.67

3.37

0.36

1.47

0.01

n.a.

n.a.

0.09

Albania 1918

males

8.49

5.26

4.13

0.83

0.97

0.28

0.26

0.16

0.04

females

7.88

5.06

3.96

0.19

1.25

0.07

n.a.

n.a.

0.15

 

Table 8. Elderly population by sex, mean experienced household size, and mean number of adult coresident relatives (16+). Source: Kaser, Gruber, Kera, Pandelejmoni, 1918 census of Albania; Szołtysek, “CEURFAMFORM database”.

 

The figures in Table 8 show that the experienced household size was higher in Albania for both males and females, although for older men the difference was substantially larger. Interestingly, unlike in Albania, the size of the household of the average elderly woman in Poland–Lithuania was very close to that of the average man. Once again, this provides some additional evidence that elderly women in historic Poland had a better standing than women in Albania. In both societies, most adults who co-resided with an elderly person were the person’s relatives by blood or marriage. Far more elderly men than elderly women were living with a spouse. However, whereas men in Poland were less likely to have been living with a spouse than men in Albania, the pattern for women was reversed. These results are attributable to the higher remarriage rates of men relative to women in both societies, and to the large age gap at marriage in Albania.76 Older people in Poland–Lithuania generally had more adult children in their household, though we do not yet have enough information to determine whether this was simply an outcome of less favorable demographic conditions in Albania.77 Overall, however, we can see that in Albania, the proportion of elderly people who lived with relatives other than spouses and children was higher than in Poland–Lithuania (figures for men only). In both datasets, the mean number of adult, coresiding grandchildren was negligible.

Conclusions

Although it is still not fully acknowledged in the historical and sociological literature, a significant degree of variation has been shown to have existed within Northwestern Europe with regards to household organization. Richard Wall was among the first to tackle the problem of inter-regional differences in familial organization within areas traditionally subsumed under the label of simple (and neolocal) household systems.78 Referring to the substantial range of variation between individual settlements in England, he warned that it would be incorrect “to see English households as variations on one basic type.”79 Meanwhile, the considerable degree of variation in household structures Wall found within the confines of Northern and Central Europe led him to point out rather boldly that “so great is the degree of variation that it must be doubtful whether Hajnal’s generalization captures much of the reality of family and household patterns of Northwest European societies in the past.”80

Following this thread, in this paper, we have attempted to demonstrate that, even though eastern Poland–Lithuania and Albania both followed joint-household formation rules (i.e., the pattern antithetical to the neolocal one according to Hajnal) and can both be seen as examples of societies with long traditions of the ownership of joint property rights, the family systems in the two settings were not entirely the same. Throughout this exercise, Wall’s argument that family and household systems should not be defined solely on the basis of variations in the proportions of extended and multiple-family households81 has proven particularly valuable, and we have taken a large number of factors into consideration to demonstrate the validity of our approach.

The paper demonstrates several differences between the two Eastern European regions, however, the most convincing findings are related to the distinctly different role of females in households of Poland–Lithuania and Albania. It is in this regard that the patterns detected in the regions of eastern Poland–Lithuania deviate most significantly from many of the tendencies found in Albania. The distinctiveness of female position in the two societies, in turn, suggests that their patriarchal underpinnings may not have been the same. This disparity stemmed from the interplay of various socioeconomic, institutional, and ecological factors that are too complex to be fully discussed here.82 Here, it must suffice to say that manorialism, demesne lordship83 and the associated interventions by landlords in the lives of peasants created a political-economic framework within which historical tendencies to form corporate family groups in eastern Poland–Lithuania were to some extent constrained and the power of lineage groups was partly mitigated.84 In Albania, on the other hand, rather extreme environmental conditions in alpine or highland areas far from communication and trade routes appear to have facilitated the continuity of patriarchal cultures barely subject to state surveillance or socio-cultural currents of the Early Modern and Modern Eras.85

The different interactions among the microprocesses of elderly household membership recruitment discussed in this paper—all within a broad geographical area traditionally associated with family complexity—not only raise the question of how, ultimately, the area as a whole should be characterized, i.e. as pertaining to the operation of different household systems, or, alternatively, variations of one basic system. They also point to the more substantial question of the extent to which the term “joint family” should be used to describe a distinct family system. Further research along the lines proposed here, but extended over other areas of traditional Europe, could help us resolve this problem.86 In fact, the most recent studies suggest that the residential patterns of the elderly are but one element of a much wider “package” of dissimilarities between Polish–Lithuanian joint families and their counterparts in the Black Earth region in nineteenth-century Russia and Albania.87 One solution to the problem could be to abandon the idea that one country or region belongs to one rigid “pattern” and another country to another “pattern,” and instead to use a set of different variables to compare countries, regions, or subpopulations within them. Such a set of variables can be used to analyse similarities and differences between two or more populations and see which ones are closer to or more distant from each other; thus, to approach the Eastern European joint families as various “scalar types.”

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of this paper.

 

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Schofield, Roger. “Family Structure, Demographic Behaviour and Economic Growth.” In Famine, Disease and the Social Order in Early Modern Society, edited by John Walter and Roger Schofield, 282–95. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Skinner, George W. “Family Systems and Demographic Processes.” In Anthropological Demography: Toward A New Synthesis, edited by David I. Kertzer and Tom Fricke, 53–95. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Sklar, June. L. “The Role of Marriage Behaviour in the Demographic Transition: the Case of Eastern Europe around 1900.” Population Studies 28, no. 2 (1974): 231–47.

Smith, Daniel S. “The Curious History of Theorizing about the History of the Western Nuclear Family.” Social Science History 17 (1993): 325–53.

Szołtysek, Mikołaj. “Three Kinds of Preindustrial Household Formation System in Historical Eastern Europe: A Challenge to Spatial Patterns of the European Family.” The History of the Family 13, no. 3 (2008): 223–57.

Szołtysek, Mikołaj. “Rethinking Eastern Europe: Household Formation Patterns in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and European Family Systems.” Continuity and Change 23 (2008): 389–427.

Szołtysek, Mikołaj. CEURFAMFORM database, Version 0.1 [SPSS file]. Rostock: n.p., 2011.

Szołtysek, Mikołaj. “Spatial Construction of European Family and Household Systems: Promising Path or Blind Alley? An Eastern European Perspective.” Continuity and Change 27, no. 1 (2012): 11–52.

Szołtysek, Mikołaj. “The Genealogy of Eastern European Difference: an Insider’s View.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 43, no. 3 (2012): 335–71.

Szołtysek, Mikołaj. Rethinking East-Central Europe: Family Systems and Co-Residence in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Bern: Peter Lang, forthcoming.

Szołtysek, Mikołaj. Residence Patterns and the Human-ecological Setting in Historical Eastern Europe: a Challenge of Compositional (Re)analysis.” In Population in the Human Sciences: Concepts, Models, Evidence, edited by Philip Keager. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming.

Szołtysek, Mikołaj, and Barbara Zuber Goldstein. “Historical Family Systems and the Great European Divide: the Invention of the Slavic East.” Demográfia: English Edition 52, no. 5 (2009): 5–47.

United Nations, Population Division. Living Arrangements of Older Persons. Special issue of Population Bulletin of the United Nations 42/43. New York: United Nations Reproduction Section, 2001.

Verdon, Michel. “Rethinking Complex Households: the Case of the Western Pyrenean »Houses«.” Continuity and Change 11, no. 2 (1996): 191–215.

Viazzo, Pier Paolo. Upland Communities: Environment, Population and Social Structure in the Alps since the Sixteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Viazzo, Pier Paolo. “Pastoral and Peasant Family Systems in Mountain Environment.” In Pratiques familiales et sociétés de montagne, XVIe – XXe siècle, edited by Bernard Derouet, Luigi Lorenzetti, and Jon Mathieu, 245–64. Basel: Schwabe, 2010.

Wall, Richard. “Regional and Temporal Variations in English Household Structure from 1650.” In Regional Demographic Development, edited by John Hobcraft and Philip Rees, 89–113. London: Croom Helm, 1979.

Wall, Richard. “European family and household systems.” In Historiens et populations. Liber Amicorum Etienne Helin, 617–36. Louvain-la-Neuve: Academia, 1991.

Wall, Richard. “Relationships between the Generations in British Families Past and Present.” In Families and Households: Division and Change, edited by Cathie Marsh and Sara Arber, 63–85. London: Macmillan, 1992.

Wall, Richard. “Historical Development of the Household in Europe.” In Household Demography and Household Modeling, edited by Evert van Imhoff, Anton C. Kuijsten, Pieter Hooimeijer, and Leo J. C. van Wissen, 19–52. New York: Plenum Press, 1995.

Wall, Richard. “Characteristics of European Family and Household Systems.” Historical Social Research 23, no. 1–2 (1998): 44–66.

Wall, Richard. “Transformation of the European Family across the Centuries.” In Family history revisited. Comparative perspectives, edited by Richard Wall, Tamara K. Hareven, Josef Ehmer, and Markus Cerman, 217–41. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2001.

Waris, Elina. “Komplexe Familienformen. Neue Forschungen zu Familie und Arbeitsorganisation im finnischen Karelien und in Estland.” Historische Anthropologie 10, no. 1 (2002): 31–51.

Wheaton, Robert. “Family and Kinship in Western Europe: The Problem of the Joint Family Household.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 5, no. 4 (1975): 601–28.

Wolf, Douglas A. “The Elderly and Their Kin: Patterns of Availability and Access.” In The Demography of Aging, edited by Linda Martin and Samuel Preston, 146–94. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 1994.

1 For the argument see: Daniel S. Smith, “The Curious History of Theorizing about the History of the Western Nuclear Family,” Social Science History 17 (1993): 325–53; Michel Verdon, “Rethinking Complex Households: the Case of the Western Pyrenean »Houses«”, Continuity and Change 11, no. 2 (1996): 191–215; Mary S. Hartman, The Household and the Making of History. A Subversive View of the Western Past (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

2 Lutz K. Berkner and John W. Shaffer, “The Joint Family in the Nivernais,” Journal of Family History 3 (1978): 150–62; David I. Kertzer, “The Joint Family Revisited: Demographic Constraints and Complex Family Households in the European Past,” Journal of Family History 14 (1989): 1–15; Ulf Brunnbauer, Gebirgsgesellschaften auf dem Balkan. Wirtschaft und Familienstrukturen im Rhodopengebirge (19./20. Jahrhundert) (Vienna–Cologne–Weimar: Böhlau, 2004); Pier Paolo Viazzo, “Pastoral and peasant family systems in mountain environment,” in Pratiques familiales et sociétés de montagne, XVIe – XXe siècle, ed. Bernard Derouet, Luigi Lorenzetti, and Jon Mathieu (Basel: Schwabe, 2010), 245–64.

3 Mark O. Kosven, Semeinaia obshchina i patronimiia (Moscow: Izd-vo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1963); Karl Kaser, Familie und Verwandtschaft auf dem Balkan. Analyse einer untergehenden Kultur (Vienna: Böhlau, 1995); Michael Mitterauer, “A Patriarchal Culture? Functions and Forms of Family in the Balkans,” Beiträge zur historischen Sozialkunde. Special Issue 1999: The Balkans: Traditional Patterns of Life (1999): 4–20.

4 Steven Ruggles, “Stem Families and Joint Families in Comparative Historical Perspective,” Population and Development Review 36, no. 3 (2010): 563–77.

5 Triloki N. Madan, “The Joint Family: A Terminological Clarification,” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 3 (1962): 7–10.

6 For the sake of convenience, throughout this paper the terms “domestic groups,” households, or “housefuls” are used interchangeably, despite some clear qualitative distinctions between them.

7 Frédéric Le Play, “Le Réforme Sociale,” in Frederic Le Play on Family, Work, and Social Change, ed. C. Bodard Silver (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1982), 259; Frédéric Le Play, L’organisation de la famille selon le vrai modèle signalé par l’histoire de toutes les races et de tous les temps, 3rd edition (Tours: Alfred Mame et fils, 1871), § 12, 94; Charles S. Devas, Studies of Family Life: A Contribution to Social Science (London: Burns and Oates, 1886); M. F. Nimkoff and Russell Middleton, “Types of Family and Types of Economy,” American Journal of Sociology 66, no. 3 (1960): 215–25.

8 Milovan Gavazzi, “Die Mehrfamilien der Europäischen Völker, Ethnologia Europaea 11 (1980): 167–68.

9 Berkner and Shaffer, “Joint Family.”

10 Kertzer, “Joint Family.”

11 Elina Waris, “Komplexe Familienformen. Neue Forschungen zu Familie und Arbeitsorganisation im finnischen Karelien und in Estland,” Historische Anthropologie 10, no. 1 (2002): 31–51.

12 Peter Czap, “The Perennial Multiple Family Household, Mishino, Russia, 1782–1858,” Journal of Family History 7 (1982): 5–26.

13 Karl Kaser, “Introduction: Household and Family Contexts in the Balkans,” The History of the Family 1, no. 4 (1996): 375–86; Robert Wheaton, “Family and Kinship in Western Europe: The Problem of the Joint Family Household,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 5, no. 4 (1975): 601–28; Gavazzi, “Mehrfamilien”; Milovan Gavazzi, “The Extended Family in Southeastern Europe,” Journal of Family History 7, no. 1 (1982): 89–102; Michael. Mitterauer, “Komplexe Familienformen in sozialhistorischer Sicht,” Ethnologia Europaea 12 (1981): 213–71.

14 Berkner and Shaffer, “Joint Family,” 150.

15 Wheaton, “Family.”

16 Frank Lorimer, Culture and Human Fertility (Paris: UNESCO, 1954).

17 Kingsley Davis, “Institutional Patterns Favouring High Fertility in Underdeveloped Areas,” Eugenics Quarterly 2 (1955): 33–9.

18 Kingsley Davis and Judith Blake, “Social Structure and Fertility: an Analytic Framework,” Economic Development and Cultural Change 4 (1956): 211–35.

19 John C. Caldwell, “A Theory of Fertility: From High Plateau to Destabilization,” Population and Development Review (1978): 553–77; Thomas K. Burch and Murray Gendell, “Extended Family Structure and Fertility: Some Conceptual and Methodological Issues,” Journal of Marriage and Family 32, no. 2 (1970): 227–36 for counterarguments; also the discussion in Monica Das Gupta, “Lifeboat Versus Corporate Ethic: Social and Demographic Implications of Stem and Joint Families,” Social Science and Medicine 49, no. 2 (1999): 181–82.

20 John Hajnal, “Two Kinds of Preindustrial Household Formation System,” Population and Development Review 8 (1982): 449–94.

21 Hajnal, “Two kinds,” 455.

22 Das Gupta, “Lifeboat”; also George W. Skinner, “Family Systems and Demographic Processes,” in Anthropological Demography: Toward A New Synthesis, ed. David I. Kertzer and Tom Fricke (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 53–95.

23 Richard Wall, “Relationships between the generations in British families past and present,” in Families and households: division and change, ed. Cathie Marsh and Sara Arber (London: Macmillan, 1992), 63–85; Peregrine Horden and Richard M. Smith, eds., The Locus of Care: Families, Communities, Institutions and the Provision of Welfare since Antiquity (London: Routledge, 1998).

24 Le Play, “Réforme.”

25 Peter Laslett, “Introduction,” in Household and Family in Past Time, ed. Peter Laslett and Richard Wall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 1–89; Peter Laslett, “Family, Kinship and Collectivity as Systems of Support in Preindustrial Europe: a Consideration of the »Nuclear-hardship« Hypothesis,” Continuity and Change 3, no. 2 (1988): 152–75; Mead Cain, “Welfare Institutions in Comparative Perspective: The Fate of the Elderly in Contemporary South Asia and Pre-Industrial Western Europe,” in Life, Death, and the Elderly: Historical Perspectives, ed. Margareth Pelling and Richard M. Smith (London: Routledge, 1991), 222–43; Das Gupta, “Lifeboat”; Skinner, “Family systems.”

26 Cain, “Welfare Institutions,” 241.

27 Laslett, “Family.”

28 Laslett, “Family”; Roger Schofield, “Family Structure, Demographic Behaviour and Economic Growth,” in Famine, Disease and the Social Order in Early Modern Society, ed. John Walter and Roger Schofield (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 282–95; Cain, “Welfare Institutions”; Hartman, “Household”; critically Sandra Cavallo, “Family Obligations and Inequalities in Access to Care in Northern Italy seventeenth to eighteenth centuries,” in The Locus of Care: Families, Communities, Institutions and the Provision of Welfare since Antiquity, ed. Peregrine Horden and Richard M. Smith (London: Routledge, 1998), 90–110; Peregrine Horden, “Household Care and Informal Networks: Comparisons and Continuities from Antiquity to the Present,” in The Locus of Care: Families, Communities, Institutions and the Provision of Welfare since Antiquity, ed. Peregrine Horden and Richard M. Smith (London: Routledge, 1998).

29 Vera St. Erlich, Family in Transition: A Study of 300 Yugoslav Villages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966): 32; Joel M. Halpern, Karl Kaser, and Richard A. Wagner, “Patriarchy in the Balkans: Temporal and Cross-Cultural Approaches,” The History of the Family 1, no. 4 (1996): 425–42; Karl Kaser, Hirten, Kämpfer, Stammeshelden. Ursprünge und Gegenwart des balkanischen Patriarchats (Vienna–Cologne–Weimar: Böhlau, 1992); Kaser, “Introduction”; Mitterauer, “Patriarchal Culture.”

30 Siegfried Gruber and Mikołaj Szołtysek, Quantifying Patriarchy: an Explorative Comparison of Two Joint Family Societies, MPIDR Working Paper WP-2012-017 (Rostock: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, 2012).

31 Strangely enough, the existence of intra-regional differences within the specific types of family household systems has been endorsed only recently in the family history literature. Richard Wall, in particular, argued that many distinctive patterns could be identified within an area in which Hajnal’s Northwest European household system was allegedly dominant (see Richard Wall, “European family and household systems,” in Historiens et populations. Liber Amicorum Etienne Helin (Louvain-la-Neuve: Academia, 1991), 617–36; Richard Wall, “Historical Development of the Household in Europe,” in Household Demography and Household Modeling, ed. Evert van Imhoff et al. (New York: Plenum Press, 1995), 19–52; Richard Wall, “Transformation of the European family across the centuries,” in Family History Revisited. Comparative Perspectives, ed. Richard Wall et al. (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2001), 217–41; see also discussion in Mikołaj Szołtysek, “Spatial Construction of European Family and Household Systems: Promising Path or Blind Alley? An Eastern European perspective,” Continuity and Change 27, no. 1 (2012): 11–52. However, Wall’s claims remain largely unheard or unacknowledged, cf. Alter’s recent statement about the pervasiveness of the Northwest European family model: George C. Alter, “Generation to Generation: Life Course, Family, and Community,” Social Science History 37, no. 1 (2013): 1–26.

32 See Susan De Vos and Karen Holden, “Measures Comparing the Living Arrangements of the Elderly,” Population and Development Review 14, no. 4 (1988): 688–704; Eugene Hammel and Peter Laslett, “Comparing Household Structure Over Time and Between Cultures,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 16 (1974): 73–109; Steven Ruggles, “Availability of Kin and the Demography of Historical Family Structure,” Historical Methods 19 (1986): 94; Steven Ruggles, “Family Demography and Family History: Problems and Prospects,” Historical Methods 23 (1990): 22–30; Miriam King and Samuel H. Preston, “Who Lives with Whom? Individual versus Household Measures,” Journal of Family History 15, no. 2 (1990): 117–32; also Lutz K. Berkner, “Household Arithmetic: a Note,” Journal of Family History 2, no. 2 (1977): 159–63.

33 See, however Karl Kaser, “The Balkan Joint Family Household: Seeking Its Origins,” Continuity and Change 9 (1994): 45–68; Mikołaj Szołtysek, “The Genealogy of Eastern European Difference: An Insider’s View,” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 43, no. 3 (2012): 335–71.

34 Ruggles, “Availability”; also Douglas A. Wolf, “The Elderly and Their Kin: Patterns of Availability and Access,” in The Demography of Aging, ed. Linda Martin and Samuel Preston (Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 1994), 146–94; Wall, “Relationships,” 70–76.

35 Alberto Palloni, “Living Arrangements of Older Persons,” Population Bulletin of the United Nations, Special Issue 42/43 (2001): 64ff; Smith, “Structured Dependence.”

36 Czap, “Perennial Multiple Family Household.”

37 Wall, “Relationships,” 63.

38 Sara Arber and Jay Ginn, “In Sickness and in Health: Care Giving, Gender and the Independence of Elderly People,” in Families and Households: Divisions and Change, ed. Catherine Marsh and Sara Arber (London: Macmillan, 1992), 92–93.

39 For the purposes of this exposition, the discussion of data-related issues was reduced to a minimum. See more in Siegfried Gruber and Mikołaj Szołtysek, “Stem Families, Joint Families and the ‘European Pattern’: How Much of Reconsideration Do We Need?” Journal of Family History 37, no. 1 (2012): 105–25.

40 Various parts of this data collection have already been analyzed: e.g., Mikołaj Szołtysek, “Three Kinds of Preindustrial Household Formation System in Historical Eastern Europe: A Challenge to Spatial Patterns of the European Family,” The History of the Family 13, no. 3 (2008): 223–57; Mikołaj Szołtysek, “Rethinking Eastern Europe: Household Formation Patterns in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and European Family Systems,” Continuity and Change 23 (2008): 389–427; Mikołaj Szołtysek and Barbara Zuber Goldstein, “Historical Family Systems and the Great European Divide: the Invention of the Slavic East,” Demográfia: English Edition 52, no. 5 (2009): 5–47.

41 The database development was supported by the Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship project (FP6-2002-Mobility-5, Proposal No. 515065) at the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, Cambridge, UK, 2006–2008. More details in Szołtysek, “Three kinds,” “Rethinking.”

42 Not to be confused with Carpatho-Russians or Rusnaks from the Subcarpathian areas in Eastern Central Europe.

43 June L. Sklar, “The role of marriage behaviour in the demographic transition: the case of Eastern Europe around 1900,” Population Studies 28, no. 2 (1974): 231–47; cf. also Kaser, “Balkan joint family household,” 45–46, who contended that “the Balkan joint family came into being independently from other East European joint-family-household organizations.” However, there is an abundant nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature that claims that the “Balkan zadruga” was a relic of ancient all-Slavic forms of ancestral organisation which can be traced back to the era of first settlement (see below; also reviewed in Szołtysek, “Spatial,” 26–28). Although asynchronic comparisons of the elderly population in eastern Poland–Lithuania and Albania yield important lessons for specific areas of family history research, these lessons are hardly applicable to the broader social history of these regions, because the social, economic, and institutional environment have diverged in the meantime.

44 Samuel Fogelson, “Z badań nad demografią Polesia i Wołynia,” Prace Wydziału Populacyjno-Migracyjnego 6 (Warsaw, Instytut badań Spraw Narodowościowych, 1938).

45 Age-standardized number of own children under age five per 100 married women aged 15–49. Total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to bear if she survives through the end of her reproductive life span and experiences a particular set of age-specific fertility rates at each age), among the inhabitants of Poland’s eastern borderlands was estimated to have ranged between 5.1 and 5.6 at the end of the eighteenth century. Mikołaj Szołtysek, Rethinking East-Central Europe: Family Systems and Co-residence in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (Bern: Peter Lang, forthcoming). 150 years later in Albania, TFR averaged more than six births per woman: Jane Falkingham and Arjan Gjonça, “Fertility Transition in Communist Albania, 1950–90,” Population Studies 55 (2001): 309–18.

46 See also Gruber Szołtysek, “Stem Families.” Unfortunately there is no reliable data about life expectancy at birth available for Albania prior to 1950 (at which time it was 51 years for males and 61 years for females), so we cannot be sure whether that feature is an effect of enhanced survival chances or partly an outcome of exaggerated ages later in life. On the other hand, it is rather unlikely that life expectancy at birth on Belarussian and Ukrainian territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at the end of the eighteenth century was much higher than 27 years for a man and 30 years for a woman (Szołtysek, Rethinking East-Central Europe).

47 Gruber and Szołtysek, “Stem Families.”

48 Kaser, “Introduction,” 383; Siegfried Gruber, “Household Composition and Marriage Patterns in Albania around 1900,” Balkanistic Forum 1 (2012): 101–22.

49 Kaser, “Familie,” 61–165.

50 Karl Kaser, Patriarchy after Patriarchy: Gender Relations in Turkey and in the Balkans, 1500–2000 (Vienna: Lit-Verlag, 2008).

51 Maxime Kovalevskii, “Obscinnoe zemlevladenie v Malorossii v XVIII veke,” Juridiceskij vestnik 1 (1885): 36–37, 54–55; Fedor I. Leontovich, “Krestianskij dvor v litovsko-russkom gosudarstve,” Zhurnal Ministerstva Narodnago Prosvescenija (1896): 341–82; Aleksandra Efimenko, “Dvoriščnoe zemlevladenie v južnoj Rusi” Russkaja Mysl 5–6 (1892): 370–412; Kosven, “Semeinaia obshchina,” 168–69; Marija Gimbutas, The Slavs (New York: Praeger, 1971), 133; Ivan V. Lutchitsky, “Zur Geschichte der Grundeigentumsformen in Kleinrussland,” Schmoller’s Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, Verwaltung und Volkswirtschaft im Deutschen Reich 20 (1896): 165–96; also Oswald Balzer, “O zadrudze słowiańskiej. Uwagi i polemika,” Kwartalnik Historyczny 13, no. 2 (1899): 183–256; Henryk Łowmiański, Z dziejów Słowian w I tysiącleciu n.e. (Warsaw: PWN, 1967), 344–72.

52 Mitrofan Dovnar-Zapolsky, “Očerki semejnogo obyčnogo prava krest’jan Minskoj gub,” in Issledovanija i stat’i. T. 1. Ètnografija i sociologija, obyčnoe pravo, statistika, belorusskaja pis’mennost’, ed. Mitrofan Dovnar-Zapolsky (Kiev: A. P. Sapunov, 1909), 9–12.

53 Szołtysek, “Three Kinds.”

54 Dovnar-Zapolsky, “Očerki.”

55 Yet another feature bridging the two regional societies was a pastoral or agro-pastoral mode of agrarian production that has dominated both. The cultivation of land in Albania was decisively constrained by the mountainous environment due to the climatic effects of altitude and the scarcity of productive land, hence the emergence of mountain pastoralism or the combination of animal husbandry and the cultivation of small plots of land (see Kaser, Patriarchy, 236–69). In eastern Poland–Lithuania, on the other hand, the generally low soil quality (and extensive swamp areas in southern Belarus) and the extensive chessboard of arable plots often implied a tendency to switch to non-farming activities (such as cattle breeding) (see Szołtysek, Rethinking East-Central Europe). On the long tradition of postulating links between pastoral economies and a prevalence of extended family forms, see Viazzo, “Pastoral and peasant family systems”.

56 Berkner, “Household Arithmetic”; Steven Ruggles, “Reconsidering the Northwest European Family System: Living Arrangements of the Aged in Comparative Historical Perspective,” Population and Development Review 35, no. 2 (2009): 249–73.

57 Ruggles, “Stem Families”; On the sometimes fluid distinctions between stem- and joint-family systems, see Osamu Saito, “Two Kinds of Stem Family System? Traditional Japan and Europe Compared,” Continuity and Change 13, no. 1 (1998): 167–86.

58 Peter Czap, “A Large Family: the Peasant’s Greatest Wealth: Serf Households in Mishino, Russia, 1814–1858,” in Family Forms in Historic Europe, ed. Richard Wall, Jean Robin, and Peter Laslett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 128–29.

59 John Hajnal, “Two Kinds of Preindustrial Household Formation System,” in Family Forms in Historic Europe, ed. Richard Wall, Jean Robin, and Peter Laslett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 88.

60 Wheaton, “Family,” 615–16; Andrejs Plakans, “Seigneurial Authority and Peasant Family Life: The Baltic Area in the Eighteenth Century,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 5, no. 4 (1975): 629–54.

61 Lutz K. Berkner, The Stem Family and the Developmental Cycle of the Peasant Household: an Eighteenth-century Austrian Example,” The American Historical Review 77, no. 2 (1972): 398–418.

62 Czap, “Perennial Multiple Family Household,” 18; Czap, “Large Family,” 143–44.

63 The “head” of a CFU was considered to be the oldest person within it.

64 These are, of course, hypothetical life-courses constructed from synthetic cohorts based on cross-sectional data.

65 For a review see: De Vos and Holden, “Measures”; Susan De Vos, “Revisiting the Classification of Household Composition Among Elderly People,” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 19, no. 2 (2004): 135–52; also United Nations, Population Division, Living Arrangements of Older Persons. Special issue of Population Bulletin of the United Nations 42/43 (New York: United Nations Reproduction Section, 2001); Wall, “Historical Development”; Steven Ruggles, “Living Arrangements and Well-Being of Older Persons in the Past,” Population Bulletin of the United Nations 42/43 (2001): 111–61.

66 De Vos and Holden, “Measures”; De Vos, “Revisiting.”

67 Cf. Steven Ruggles, Prolonged Connections: The Rise of the Extended Family in Nineteenth-Century England and America (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987); Wall, “Relationships”; Richard Wall, “Characteristics of European Family and Household Systems,” Historical Social Research 23, no. 1–2 (1998): 44–66.

68 Wolf, “Elderly”; also Ruggles, “Availability”; Palloni, “Living Arrangements,” 88–91.

69 Palloni, “Living Arrangements.”

70 As remarked above, in reality the exact kinship network or the network of supporting family members is not known in this type of analysis; it can be independent of co-residence. For arguments about a close correspondence between the structure of the co-resident kin group and the overall importance of kinship in Polish–Lithuanian reality, see Szołtysek, Rethinking East-Central Europe, ch. 10.

71 In economic demography, living in single-person households in old age is sometimes taken as a manifestation of the desire for privacy and autonomy, which is most likely to be realized when the income of the population increases (see the discussion in Fred C. Pampel “Changes in the Propensity to Live Alone: Evidence from Consecutive Cross- Sectional Surveys, 1960–1976,” Demography 20, no. 4 (1983): 433–47. Another perspective stresses the negative consequences of living alone; namely, the limited potential for assistance from family members, indicated by the presence of others in the same household.

72 De Vos and Holden, “Measures,” 694.

73 Wall, “Characteristics.”

74 This holds true even though in general women are structurally less advantaged in the patrilineal joint-family system than in nuclear- or stem-family societies. According to Das Gupta, “Liveboat,” 178, 180: “This is because the primary unit is the corporate group which consists of male patrikin. Women are at the bottom of two hierarchies: the gender hierarchy as well as the age hierarchy. A young bride enters her husband’s family as a marginal person with little autonomy (…). The powerlessness of women in the patrilineal joint family system (…) is at its peak during the early phases of a woman’s marriage, which are the peak childbearing years (…). In the joint family system, old people are likely to obtain greater emotional and physical support, and also perhaps greater access to financial support in an emergency than might have been forthcoming for retired parents in the stem family system.”

75 See Joel M. Halpern, “Town and countryside in Serbia in the nineteenth-century, social and household structure as reflected in the census of 1863,” in Household and Family in Past Time, ed. Peter Laslett and Richard Wall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 401–27; Thomas K. Burch, “Household and Family Demography: A Bibliographic Essay,” Population Index 45, no. 2 (1979): 173–95.

76 Larger age gaps between spouses in Albania may have resulted in better chances of remarrying for widows, as they were younger. However, differing household structure, as well as the differing household position of the women could counterbalance that advantage, as the presence of married adult sons could diminish the probability of remarriage.

77 A similar number of children-in-law should be present in these households (most of these adult children were married), although we have not yet been able to calculate their exact numbers. It is worth pointing out that early twentieth-century observers of demographic conditions in southern Belarus were equally struck by the extremely high fertility of the local population and the surprisingly low mortality (Fogelson, “Z badań”).

78 Wall, “Household systems”; Wall, “Transformation.”

79 Richard Wall, “Regional and Temporal Variations in English Household Structure from 1650,” in Regional Demographic Development, ed. John Hobcraft and Philip Rees (London: Croom Helm, 1979), 109.

80 Wall, “Household Systems,” 625.

81 Wall, “Household Systems”; Wall, “Transformation.”

82 See, however, Mikołaj Szołtysek, Residence Patterns and the Human-ecological Setting in Historical Eastern Europe: a Challenge of Compositional (Re)analysis,” in Population in the Human Sciences: Concepts, Models, Evidence, ed. Philip Kreager (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

83 See Markus Cerman, Villagers and Lords in Eastern Europe, 1300–1800 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

84 Cf. also Michael Mitterauer, Ostkolonisation und Familienverfassung. Zur Diskussion um die Hajnal-Linie,” In Vilfanov zbornik. Pravo-zgodovina-narod. In memoriam Sergij Vilfan, ed. Vincenc Rajšp and Ernst Bruckmüller (Ljubljana: ZRC, 1999), 203–21.

85 Cf. Mitterauer, “Komplexe Familienformen,” 67–68; Pier Paolo Viazzo, Upland Communities: Environment, Population and Social Structure in the Alps since the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); Ulf Brunnbauer, “The Mountains and the Households. Household Structures in the Rhodopi Mountains in a Comparative Perspective.” Paper presented at the 2010 SSHA Convention, Chicago, Ill., October 17–21, 2010.

86 See the agenda for the research and data collection project recently launched by MPIDR, called Mosaic at www.censusmosaic.org.

87 Szołtysek, Rethinking East-Central Europe; and Gruber and Szołtysek, “Quantifying Patriarchy.”

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