Title
Replacing the family? Beguinages in early modern western European cities: an analysis of the family networks of beguines living in Mechelen (1532-1591) Replacing the family? Beguinages in early modern western European cities: an analysis of the family networks of beguines living in Mechelen (1532-1591)
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Arts. History
Publication type
article
Publication
Cambridge ,
Subject
Sociology
Source (journal)
Continuity and change : a journal of social structure, law and demography in past societies. - Cambridge, 1986, currens
Volume/pages
29(2014) :3 , p. 325-347
ISSN
0268-4160
ISI
000347467000002
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
In many early modern towns of the southern Low Countries, beguinages gave adult single women of all ages the possibility to lead a religious life of contemplation in a secure setting, retaining rights to their property and not having to take permanent vows. This paper re-examines the family networks of these women by means of a micro-study of the wills left by beguines who lived in the Great Beguinage of St Catherine in sixteenth-century Mechelen, a middle-sized city in the Low Countries. By doing so, this research seeks to add nuance to a historiography that has tended to consider beguinages as artificial families, presumably during a period associated with the increasing dominance of the nuclear family and the unravelling ties of extended family.
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