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Life scripts and life realities: women in nineteenth-century Nijmegen

Lebensskript und Lebenswirklichkeit: Frauen im Nimwegen des 19. Jahrhunderts
[journal article]

Engelen, Theo

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Abstract "On average, more than one fifth of the 19th century Nijmegen brides were pregnant at the date of marriage. In a society where extramarital sexuality was explicitly forbidden, and where the success of marriage restriction depended on following that rule, this finding is remarkable. Obviously, the cultural life script that allowed sexuality only within marriage was not a script all inhabitants lived up to. A remarkable secondary finding is that the protestant population had a much higher proportion of bridal pregnancies than the Roman Catholic population, although both the Protestant and the Roman Catholic clergy strongly opposed sexual activities, unless within marriage. Therefore, when bridal pregnancy among Protestant couples was twice as high as among Catholics, this points either at a stricter control by the Catholic clergy, or at more deviance among Protestant youngsters. In any case, when studying cultural life scripts on sexuality, it is always important to note that it can be countered by human agency." (author's abstract)
Keywords woman; Netherlands; nineteenth century; pregnancy; marriage; sexuality; Roman Catholic; Protestant; living conditions; cultural factors
Classification Social History, Historical Social Research; Women's Studies, Feminist Studies, Gender Studies; Population Studies, Sociology of Population
Method empirical; quantitative empirical; historical
Free Keywords cultural life script; bridal pregnancy; extramarital sexuality
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 104-112
Journal Historical Social Research, 39 (2014) 1
Issue topic Cultural life scripts
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works