Facing illegitimate motherhood in eighteenth-century Antwerp. How changing contexts influenced the experiences of single mothers

Griet Vermeesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article assesses the wide range of experiences of illegitimacy in eighteenth-century Antwerp. It exposes many instances of pauper agency, yet also cautions against simply assuming that all single mothers were similarly forceful in their dealings with illegitimacy. Four key factors affected the options a single mother had at her disposal in dealing with illegitimate pregnancy: the way poor relief was organised, the relative accessibility of judicial processes, the administrative settings, and the prevailing ideas about illegitimacy and morality among the general community. The article shows how these factors changed in the final quarter of the eighteenth century, impacting on the strategies that single mothers could adopt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-137
Number of pages21
JournalContinuity and Change
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2019

Keywords

  • social history
  • Early Modern History
  • Urban history

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