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'Att blifva sin egen': ungdomars väg in i vuxenlivet i 1700- och 1800-talens övre Norrland
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The background to this study is that there is no studies on youth and their transition to adulthood in preindustrial Sweden. The main objective of this thesis has therefore been to analyze young peoples transition to adulthood during the late 18th and 19th centuries in a region of the northern part of Sweden. The social context of the region was mainly agrarian during the investigated period despite the fact that in the later part of the 19th and beginning of 20th century, a development of a growing forest industry had started. The main questions is: How and when in life did different social categories of young people establish an independent and adult life? Where there any changes in transitional patterns and was the establishment smoother or more troublesome at different times during the investigated period ? Where there any changes regarding social norms related to the establishment of adult life?

The transition to adult life is studied from a life-course approach and four key-transitions; The First Holy communion, leaving home, marriage and parenthood are regarded as significant steps within the process to a independent social position. Individual data related to keytransitions is mainly collected from cathectical examination records and comprised 2206 individuals born in six different cohorts between 1770 and 1900. The selected cohorts represents individuals that had to deal with different social conditions during their youth and transition to adult life.

The main results regarding the transition to adult life can be summarized in two words, complexity and variance. Usually it was a "long" transition but the number of accomplished keytransitions and the order between them varied, as well as ages when taking the first Holy Communion, leaving home, marriage and entering parenthood varied. Transitional patterns varied between different categories of youth. A dividing line existed between the sexes, those from households strongly rooted in the agricultural structure and those with background in social categories that didn't own or was in possession of land. Social norms related to keytransitons changed along this dividing line during the investigated period of time, and became less permissive within landowning or land-possessing categories and less prescriptive in other categories.

Transitional patterns were also influenced by the social situation at different historical times. The need for labor, war and years of famine directly intervened in timing and sequencing of keytransitions. A long term development was that the transition to adult life became more problematic in the later part of the 19th century, especially among young people who were less integrated in the social context and among socially stigmatized youth. Finally, young people were active and reflexive in seeking social space to make the transition to adult life, actions that sometimes caused tensions and conflicts between generations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2000. , 271 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 14
Keyword [en]
Youth, Transition to adulthood, Pre-industrial society, Lifecourse, Key- transitions, Social categories
National Category
Sociology History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60822ISBN: 91-7191-772-1OAI: diva2:563435
Available from: 2012-10-30 Created: 2012-10-30 Last updated: 2012-10-30Bibliographically approved

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