Family and Individual Social Progression along Industrialization in Southern Europe, 19th-20th Centuries

Joana-Maria Pujadas-Mora , Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), Universitat de Barcelona
Gabriel Brea-Martinez, Centre for Economic Demography-Economic History Lund University
Miquel Valls Fígols, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The role of the family in both individual social status attainment and labor careers during industrialization was questioned by the Modernization theory. Accordingly, familial nuclearization was argued to be one of the causes. However, little has been said on this topic regarding societies in which stem or joint families were important. This article studies the industrialization effects on the familial influence individuals’ labor career progressions on cohorts born between 1860 and 1909 in Catalonia in an area of early industrialization and fertility decline. The results show that family influence on occupational attainment decreased during the industrialization, albeit did not vanish totally. Moreover, this loss was concomitant with the fertility decline. In contrast to societies with a prevalence of nuclear families, Catalonia faced changes in family influence and fertility decline without losing the strong presence of stem families. The youngest cohorts (1890-99 and 1900-09) facing industrialization’s consolidation attained higher levels of occupational status, while the oldest cohorts (1860-69 and 1870-79) within the initial stages of industrialization achieved less career progression and social immobility. This changes also occurred by birth orders, whereby first-born sibling in the oldest cohorts attained better socioeconomic status while second born did the same in the youngest cohorts. These elements grant evidences about the crisis and decline in the Catalan Universal inheritance system. Nevertheless, this general enhancement over time did not break the social stratification caused by social background, which demonstrates that inequality in accessing opportunities is linked to the capacity to generate progress or demotion within societies.

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 Presented in Session 26. Historical Family Demograhy