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La châtellenie de Thoissey

Étude d'une population de la Dombes du XVIe au XIXe siècle

Collection : Études et enquêtes historiques

2017, 280 pages


n° ISBN 978-2-7332-1074-1

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n° ISBN 978-2-7332-2027-6

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n° ISBN 978-2-7332-2026-9

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[The castellany of Thoissey: study of a population in the Dombes region of France from the sixteenth to nineteenth century]


Preface, Maurice Garden


Part I. The castellany: a territory and its population

Chapter 1. Sources and methods

Chapter 2. The sovereign status of the Dombes region

Chapter 3. Social structures: city and rural parishes

Chapter 4. Population movement from the seventeenth to nineteenth century

Part II. Family formation and marital breakdown

Chapter 5. Nuptiality

Chapter 6. Choosing a spouse

Chapter 7. Widowhood and remarriage

Part III. Fertility and family life

Chapter 8. Fertility and family dimensions

Chapter 9. Childhood and families

Part IV. Disease and death

Chapter 10. The rhythms of death: seasonal movement and crises

Chapter 11. Child mortality

Chapter 12. Causes of death: an essay in historical pathology

Chapter 13. The deceased and their families

General conclusion

[The castellany of Thoissey: study of a population in the Dombes region of France from the sixteenth to nineteenth century]

A portrait of France drawn through the study of local history and how it was impacted by major developments within the country. Alain Bideau offers a detailed analysis of the demographic transition over two centuries.

This local study, centred on the small Dombes region, resuscitates a past population over two centuries’ time and, unexpectedly for the time, emphasizes its mobility between the rural world and the city and from one village to another. A comparison of a city and its surrounding territory at this scale is unprecedented in demographic history. Thoissey and its surrounding villages were chosen for the contrasts, and examples of osmosis, between the city and the rural world that they show.

The work also recalls how widespread death and widowhood were in what were still quite large families prior to the major advances in public health. It also highlights the considerable gaps between social groups, the slow but sure development of literacy, and the fact that wet nurse use was reserved for wealthy families.

Demographic study of bygone populations sheds light on the history of behaviours; that is, on changes in behaviour and their impact over time. Unions, births, diseases and death reflect the major social transformations of the time, even at a local scale like that of the Dombes.

Alain Bideau is a CNRS senior researcher emeritus, former guest professor at the University of Montreal and the University of Curitiba (Brazil), specializing in historical demography. He has co-authored Essai de démographie et de génétique des populations with Guy Brunet and Une communauté allemande au Brésil with Sergio Nadalin, both for INED Publications. From 1995 to 2005 he served as chair of the Société de Démographie Historique, and since 2011 he has been project officer at the CNRS’s Institut National des Sciences Humaines et Sociales. In 2016 he was chosen by members to join the Royal Society of Canada’s Academy of Social Sciences.

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