|Social structure in a Danish rural area 1750-1850|
|In Denmark as in many other countries the demographic and therefor also the social landscape changed in the period 1750-1850. The first fase of the demographic transition – lowering mortality and high fertility – lead to a population surplus which at least in Danish rural areas not yet could be absorbed by overseas emigration or the industrialization of urban areas.
In this situation farm land became less available and more important, especially since it also was in a period of rising prices on agricultural products. In my project I will focus on the family as the starting point for the individual’s struggle for land and social position. By analyzing family ties and individual life cycles in a local rural society I will describe social and geographic mobility and – hopefully – be able to explain why some individuals or families succeeded in keeping a relatively high social position while others experienced a social comedown.
In my paper I will present the results of the first part of my project: a social stratification of the three rural parishes Junget, Torum and Selde in the north of Jutland. The stratification will be established at three different times during the period: 1750, 1800 and 1850. This will both show the development of the social structure in the area and give me a necessary tool for the following phase of my project – the analyze of the social mobility between generations. The social stratification of an area also involves interesting methodological problems, related to the charateristics of the historical sources available.|