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Disability in individual life and past society: life-course perspectives of people with disabilities in the Sundsvall region of Sweden in the nineteenth century
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0267-1206
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What did a life with disability imply for individuals in a past society? Since disabled men and women have long been hidden in history, the aim with this thesis is to uncover them and their living conditions in nineteenth-century Sweden, represented by the Sundsvall region. The data consist of parish registers, which help to trace people’s life courses and the consequences if disabilities interfered with their lives. These records are digitized and stored by the Demographic Data Base (DDB), Umeå University, Sweden. The dataset under analysis comprises a population of some 36,000 observations from non-disabled and disabled individuals. Life-course perspectives and labeling theories are applied in all four studies in this thesis, even if different methods and events in life are taken into account. Studies II and IV examine the marriage propensities and the spouses, and show that disabled people did marry, and usually with a non-disabled partner in similar age and from similar socio-economic origin. However their marital chances were significantly smaller compared to their non-disabled counterparts. Study I reveals that disabilities implied significantly higher death risks, in particular among the men and those with mental disabilities of both genders. In Study III, the three events of getting a job, marrying and giving birth to a child were explored in parallel. The results reveal that even if some disabled people experienced all these events, they did so to a lower extent than non-disabled persons. Variations were found between men and women and different disabilities. The major conclusion of the thesis is that disabled people constituted a most heterogeneous group of individuals with different obstacles and opportunities in life in a past society, where gender and type of disability seem to have played a part in their level of labeling beyond the impairment itself. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2017. , 154 p.
Series
Report from the Demographic Data Base, ISSN 0349-5132 ; 33
Keyword [en]
disability, nineteenth century, marriage, mortality, partner selection, life course, event history analysis, sequence analysis, gender, Sweden
National Category
History
Research subject
Historical Demography; History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-130333ISBN: 978-91-7601-648-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-130333DiVA: diva2:1066198
Public defence
2017-02-10, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-01-20 Created: 2017-01-17 Last updated: 2017-01-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Gendered death risks among disabled individuals in sweden: A case study of the 19th-century Sundsvall region
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gendered death risks among disabled individuals in sweden: A case study of the 19th-century Sundsvall region
2016 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, E-ISSN 1502-7716, Vol. 41, no 2, 160-184 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study follows around 500 disabled individuals over their lifespan to examine their risks of dying in 19th-century society, in comparison to a reference group of non-disabled people. The aim is to detect whether people, due to their disability, had a higher probability of meeting an untimely death. We use Sweden’s 19th-century parish registers to identify people the ministers defined as disabled, and to construct a reference group of individuals who were not affected by these disabilities. By combining the deviance theories from sociology studies with demographic sources and statistical methods, we achieve new insight into how life developed for disabled people in past societies. The results suggest that disability significantly jeopardized the survival of individuals, particularly men, but also that the type of disability had an impact. Altogether, we can demonstrate that the disabled constituted a disadvantaged but heterogeneous group of people whose demography and life courses must be further researched.

Keyword
disability, gender, life course, mortality, 19th century
National Category
History and Archaeology
Research subject
Historical Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-119213 (URN)10.1080/03468755.2016.1155859 (DOI)000373474600002 ()
Funder
Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, 2012.0141
Available from: 2016-04-13 Created: 2016-04-13 Last updated: 2017-06-19Bibliographically approved
2. Disabled and unmarried?: Marital chances among disabled people in nineteenth-century northern Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Disabled and unmarried?: Marital chances among disabled people in nineteenth-century northern Sweden
2017 (English)In: Essays in Economic & Business History, ISSN 0896-226X, Vol. 35, no 1, 207-238 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To marry and form a household of one's own was the expected life course of most people in the nineteenth century, but little is known about whether individuals with disabilities shared the same demographic experience of marriage as non-disabled did. This study examines this issue by analyzing the marital chances of a group of disabled people—i.e. blind, deaf mute, crippled and with mental disabilities—compared with a non-disabled reference group. Our results show that about a quarter of the disabled individuals did marry, even though their marital propensities were significantly lower than those of non-disabled people. These propensities also differed by gender and type of disability. We suggest that the lower marital chances and the variation we found within the group of disabled people indicate the level of social exclusion they faced in society.

National Category
History
Research subject
Historical Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-130423 (URN)
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 647125Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, 2012.0141
Note

Originally published in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2017-01-19 Created: 2017-01-19 Last updated: 2017-06-20Bibliographically approved
3. Sequence analysis of how disability influenced life trajectories in a past population from the nineteenth-century Sundsvall region, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sequence analysis of how disability influenced life trajectories in a past population from the nineteenth-century Sundsvall region, Sweden
2017 (English)In: Historical Life Course Studies, ISSN 1570-1522, E-ISSN 2352-6343, Vol. 4, 97-119 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keyword
Sequence analysis, Life course, Life trajectories, Disability, Demographic Data Base, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR), Nineteenth century, Sweden
National Category
History
Research subject
Historical Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-130426 (URN)
Projects
DISLIFE-647125MAW 2012.0141
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 647125Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, 2012.0141
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2017-01-19 Created: 2017-01-19 Last updated: 2017-06-19Bibliographically approved
4. Whom to marry? Partner selection of people with disabilities in nineteenth-century northern Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Whom to marry? Partner selection of people with disabilities in nineteenth-century northern Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
History
Research subject
Historical Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-130427 (URN)
Available from: 2017-01-19 Created: 2017-01-19 Last updated: 2017-01-19

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