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Shared practices: social networks and fertility decline during the Swedish demographic transition, 1850-1950
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: 0000-0003-1527-279X
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Sociala nätverk och fertilitetsnedgång under den svenska demografiska transitionen 1850-1950 (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This thesis studies how social interactions influenced the fertility decline during the Swedish demographic transition between 1850 and 1950. This, to gain insights into how and why norms and values affected married couples' birth control practices, and how this shaped the fertility decline. Social interaction effects are studied in two different networks, voluntary associations and spatial communities using regression-based methods, in four research papers. The relationship between social interactions and fertility, in turn, is studied at different levels of society, on a macro-, meso- and micro-level. The results show that married couples reproductive practices were affected by social interactions during the whole study period. Members of unions, free churches and temperance associations had, in general, lower fertility than others. Additionally, couples living near a union or a free-church was also more inclined to limit their fertility. Finally, the results show significant spatial autocorrelations in fertility of neighbours and couples in adjacent neighbourhoods. These results suggest that increased use of birth control was diffused within social networks through social interaction mechanisms and collective action. However, the most substantial effects are seen during the fertility transition. This was a time of large-scale societal changes, which made the perceived net benefits of childbearing more uncertain. The results of this thesis indicate that couples drew upon the experiences of others to make more informed decisions. Over time, these new shared practices were formed into social norms, connecting ideas of respectability with family limitation, diffused within social networks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies , 2018. , p. 88
Series
Report from the Demographic Data Base, ISSN 0349-5132 ; 34
Keywords [en]
historical demography, fertility transition, social interaction, social network, voluntary associations
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147281ISBN: 978-91-7601-891-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-147281DiVA, id: diva2:1202943
Public defence
2018-06-01, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-09 Created: 2018-05-02 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Voluntary Associations and Net Fertility During the Swedish Demographic Transition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Voluntary Associations and Net Fertility During the Swedish Demographic Transition
2018 (English)In: European Journal of Population, ISSN 0168-6577, E-ISSN 1572-9885Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the role of changing social relations for fertility decline during the European fertility transition. The growth of voluntary associations at the end of the nineteenth century entailed a radical shift in the landscape of social relations in Sweden. By combining micro-census data from 1890 to 1900 with local-level membership data for three voluntary association groups, this article assesses the effect of parish-level voluntary association size on net fertility in Sweden using mixed-effects Poisson regression models. The results show that the adoption of fertility limitation during the transition period was associated with the creation and diffusion of the idea of respectability within large social network organisations, an idea that has previously been shown to be connected to fertility limitation. Furthermore, by applying a social network perspective, the results show that the strength of the effect was dependent on the structure of the social networks in terms of size, density, and homogeneity. Voluntary association size had the strongest effect for the free churches, which created dense heterogeneous networks through systems of social control, while the size of the temperance association showed no effect on fertility because the connections between nodes were sparse.

Keywords
Fertility transition, Social networks, Voluntary associations, Demographic transition
National Category
History
Research subject
Historical Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-143977 (URN)10.1007/s10680-018-9465-5 (DOI)
Available from: 2018-01-16 Created: 2018-01-16 Last updated: 2018-06-09
2. Gender and fertility within the free churches in the Sundsvall region, Sweden, 1860–1921
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender and fertility within the free churches in the Sundsvall region, Sweden, 1860–1921
2016 (English)In: The History of the Family, ISSN 1081-602X, E-ISSN 1873-5398, Vol. 21, no 2, p. 243-266Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The role of secularization in the European fertility decline has been of interest to demographers, who often explore the relationship on a macro-level or by identifying religious affiliation by proxy. However, the relationship has not been thoroughly studied on an individual level utilizing indicators of personal religious conviction and affiliation. The aim of the present article is to examine reproductive practices by religious affiliation in order to understand the impact of secularization on fertility decline. This is accomplished using event history analysis of longitudinal parish register data from Sundsvall (1860–1921) where religious affiliation is identified on a family level. Reproductive practices are analysed using cohort TFR, descriptive statistics and Cox proportional hazard regressions. Free-church affiliates had, overall, a higher probability of having another child than did affiliates to the state church. However, these differences decreased over time, and as fertility dropped throughout society free-church affiliates showed the strongest significant reduction in probability of another birth. This indicates that over time, within the free churches, ideas about respectability and restraint came to mean that birth control, in the form of abstinence within marriage, became an important practice in the formation of gendered religious identities - leading to a relatively early decrease in fertility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2016
Keywords
fertility decline, religion, gender, secularization, fertilitetsnedgång, religion, genus, sekularisering
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-105082 (URN)10.1080/1081602X.2015.1043929 (DOI)000377774100006 ()
Available from: 2015-06-18 Created: 2015-06-17 Last updated: 2018-06-07Bibliographically approved
3. The influence of voluntary associations on fertility during the Swedish demographic transition, 1880-1949
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The influence of voluntary associations on fertility during the Swedish demographic transition, 1880-1949
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article investigates the impact on marital fertility of participation in and exposure to voluntary associations during the European fertility transition from 1880 to 1949. This is achieved using individual-level longitudinal demographic data from northern Sweden linked with individual-level information on voluntary association membership and contextual level information on association activity. The effect of living near an association is measured using mixed effect Cox regressions. The effect of joining an association for men and women is tested by matching members to a control group through propensity score matching before estimating differences in risks of another birth using Cox regressions. The results show that being exposed to an association was associated with lower fertility. Joining a union or a temperance association showed even stronger negative effects, but only for male members, while female members showed no significant difference in fertility. The results suggest that reproductive decisions were not simple responses by the individual couple to structural changes, but were also shaped within the social networks of which they were a part.

Keywords
fertility transition, sweden, social networks, voluntary associations, demographic transition
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147279 (URN)
Available from: 2018-05-02 Created: 2018-05-02 Last updated: 2018-06-09
4. Spatial diffusion of fertility decline in northern Sweden, 1850-1950
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial diffusion of fertility decline in northern Sweden, 1850-1950
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article studies how married couples’ fertility behaviours were af-fected by the behaviours of their  arried neighbours, in northern Sweden from 1850 to 1950. The relationship is studied at two geographical scales, as aggregate level autocorrelations between neighbourhoods and as individual level diffusion effects between neighbours. The study contributes to the discussion on the role of spatial diffusion for the European fertility decline by using longitudinal demographic data with a much more detailed spatial information than previous studies. The results show that couples in adjacent neighbourhoods had similar fertility at the onset and during the fertility transition and not after or long before. Similar patterns were found for effects of long-term changes in neighbour fertility while short-term effects showed to opposite patterns. Short-term effects did only affect fertility before or after and not during the fertility transition. The results suggest that couples fertility was affected by social interaction mechanisms within networks of neighbours not only during but also before and after the European fertility transition.

Keywords
fertility transition, spatial diffusion, social networks, neighbours, demographic transition
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147280 (URN)
Available from: 2018-05-02 Created: 2018-05-02 Last updated: 2018-06-09

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