«Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung des Doktorgrades des Fachbereichs Wirtschaftswissenschaften der Johann-Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am ...»
Due to their little value for household work, children had low social standing. The status of maids and servants was also low and depended on their specific responsibilities and their gender. The groom had the highest status among the servants.824 The household work in general was diversified and consisted in primary and secondary economic production, reproduction and child care, consumption, care of the elderly and sick and passing on ecclesiastical and worldly norms.825 Besides being organized in a hierarchical fashion, the household had a well-defined distribution of responsibilities without clear segregation of domestic and productive duties.826 There was no separation of work and private life, people slept where they worked, often among the animals or in the kitchen. The notion of privacy was unknown. Even the most intimate matters were carried out in close coexistence. Additionally, the relation between husband and wife was more economical than romantic, being a working partnership.827 This often meant that the wife as central figure of domestic life slept near the hearth. This enabled her to oversee everything and to attend to her duties even in childbed, Egner, 1985, p. 141.
Dülmen, 1995, p. 41 and Weber - Kellermann, 1988, p. 144.
Weber - Kellermann, 1988, p. 146f. and Dülmen, 1995, p. 43f.
Dülmen, 1995, p. 29.
Dülmen, 1995, p. 39.
Riehl, 1889 , p. 31ff and 45ff.
even then having no private space. This kind of living reflected the lifestyle of the rural family.828 This ideal-type definition of a house(hold) and its power relations can be traced as far back as the ancient world and the philosophy of Aristotle, who compared the hierarchy in an Oikos with that of the polis. Both are occupied by diverse members, but are unified by the ―guiding spirit‖829 of the head of the hierarchy, which in a sense represented a ―monarchy of the house father‖.830 This concept is also found in the ‗house father literature‘ (―Hausväterliteratur‖) of the 16th and 17th century. ‗Father‘ in the traditional economy was not necessarily a purely biological or sentimental concept but rather a legal and also economic role describing the character of the head of the household. It had nothing to do with the soulful, romantic family of the 18th century (see also chapter 7).831 All in all, the peasants were not in need for markets to sustain. The main ‗economic‘ risk in those times consisted in bad harvests which could be followed by famines. Markets (at the local level) were only for the purpose of trading commodities that households had abundantly produced (although not for the purpose of selling them) against other goods they were not able to produce themselves. Trade therefore was only necessary to fulfill a supporting role for the self-sustaining household. In pre-industrial times, a household produced nearly everything it needed on its own.832 With rising needs, especially of the urban bourgeois, for luxury goods, more commodities were traded on the market, including many imported goods from abroad. Of course, peasants were too poor to afford those but with the emergence of a bourgeois class in the course of industrialization, needs changed. Even the proletarians wanted to consume more, as they felt that they thus raised their social status as they were able to imitate the wants and therefore also the taste of the rich. The merchant became the unifying element of society, who organized the distribution of commodities and resources for general consumption (see also chapter 7).833 Additionally, the concept of leisure time opposed to work was unknown in preindustrial times. This distinction evolved later during industrialization due to fixed working Weber - Kellermann, 1992p. 29 and 31.
Brunner, 1956, p. 44.
Egner, 1985, p. 139, my own translation. For a detailed analysis of Aristotle‘s thought on economic activity, please refer to Schefold, 1992, Schefold, 1989, Schefold, 2011b.
Weber - Kellermann, 1988, p. 144ff + 160f. and Brunner, 1956, p. 44f.
Weber-Kellermann, 1982, p. 85.
Brunner, 1956, p. 52f.
hours in factories. Festivities, and hence free time, were mostly related to the church with many rituals and customs (see below).834 The pre-industrial German economy was thus not to a small part shaped by the rural patriarchal family whose objective was not profit maximization but security and care. The individual was embedded into the family and hence into a wider social context. This was mirrored by a society ruled by a sovereign as ‗father‘ of public order. The notion of the organization of workers in an impersonal factory system away from the feudal system seemed impossible, even considered the existing putting-out-system. The division and process of labor remained inside the family, with female and children labor being defined as ‗care‘.835 5.2.2. The transformation from traditional household to capitalist economy Although it has already been emphasized in chapter 4, it is worth repeating that Capitalism is a phenomenon that separates. It not only separates the place of production from the place where the product is sold, it moreover cuts out the business from the formerly ―intact‖, integral house, separating people from their homes. This makes them feel that also their body and soul are separated and caught in an ―iron cage‖ that Capitalism created and maintained.836 People had no choice but to take part in capitalistic development and were forced into perpetual struggle by external forces they had no command over.837 As said before, until the industrial revolution classes were virtually immobile and rural life was bound to traditions and regulations that provided stability and security but also prohibited social change and innovations. Industrialization dissipated social collectives such as the church, the guilds and the village community which were not able to protect individuals to the extent they did before. Also the putting-out-systems, the home industries, were in the concentration process bit by bit replaced by production in factories, depriving the families even more of their economic foundation. It took several decades to overcome those institutional features but once people were freed from their feudal obligations they were left with nothing if they did not own land and thus had to move to the cities.838 Nearly Kaschuba and Gall, 1990, p. 10ff.
Böhme, 1973, p. 13.
Weber, 1976 , p. 181.
Köster and Plumpe, 2007, p. 6-8.
Borchardt and Cipolla, 1972, p. 103.
half of Germany‘s population lived in poverty and affliction, was propertyless, uprooted and homeless.839 I do not intend to picture the pre-industrial family life, especially that of peasants, as idyllic and unproblematic. Rather, industrialization merely uncovered the paucity of the rural population. Also, in providing additional income sources the industrialization enabled people to start their own family who otherwise would never have been able to.840 The productivity in agriculture was growing, easing the effects of two famines in the 19th century but it was not able to accommodate the additional workers due to a growing population from the 1840s on. Working positions in factories created by industrialization were used to absorb the redundant labor.841 The new organization of family structures can thus not be evaluated as entirely negative but nevertheless it brought about irrevocable changes to the traditional lifestyle (see below).
For the peasant the change to factory work mostly meant moving into cities, leading a single life, subletting, and all this in a socially and culturally foreign surrounding. On the other hand, the wife, who was left behind, especially if some land was owned, had to take care of all tasks now. This meant the omission of the gendered division of labor. Women became responsible for former male duties.842 Additionally, social support, marriage and work licenses were granted only by the village of birth, particularly in Southern Germany.
Therefore, many peasants waited as long as possible before moving away. Once people settled in the city, with its new forms of labor, accommodation and consumption, the family lost, among many other aspects, its significance as production unit.843 Due to the development and changing structure of the industries and thus institutional pressure, labor itself had to undergo transformations. Industrial labor, ―in the sense of a stable, reliable, and disciplined group that has cut the umbilical cord connecting it with the land and has become suitable for utilization in factories, is not abundant but extremely scarce‖.844 In Germany, workers had been raised in the strict discipline of a Junker estate which made them more amenable to the conditions of factory work, but still, the transformation was far from smooth.
Industrialization also meant the traditional family division of labor was being questioned and put under pressure. The family economy had to modify its structure to maintain Böhme, 1973, p. 31.
Braun, 1979, p. 61.
Wehler, 1987, p. 51.
Weber - Kellermann, 1988, p. 384f.
Kaschuba and Gall, 1990, p. 16.
Gerschenkron, 1979, p. 9.
its functions of socialization and at the same time be able to fulfill the requirements of factory work. In other words ―a new form of family‖ had to be created.845 Industrialization threw some members of the family into unemployment whereas others found new possibilities of employment. The latter was especially true of women and children.
Before industrialization, sixty to eighty percent of the population worked in agriculture, in industrialized countries this was reduced to only about five percent, the biggest fraction of the population living in urban centers. Those upheavals caused qualitative changes to human employment as already described above.846 Apart from economic aspects, social and moral conceptions of the population did change. This means that intuition was replaced by rationality, instinct by calculation and precision. Rapid technological change made constant learning necessary, and when in pre-industrial times old men were considered wise, they now seemed outdated. Division of labor in the factory led to precise but impersonal, indifferent relationships to fellow workers. The pre-industrial patriarchal family was stable and provided social security for several generations. The industrial family is less stable with fewer functions because the state and society increasingly took over responsibilities.847 In writing about the change of family structures during the process of industrialization from the traditional family economy to the modern urban household, it is important to distinguish two different developments. The first is the development of the peasant family on which I have focused so far. They became the proletarians of the cities, the working class, as described above. To those people the change was extreme, combined with a total destruction of their living environment and behavior, causing total social uprooting.
The second development, no less important, concerns the wealthier part of the population, thus the changes to the middle and upper class households. Their positions as merchants, entrepreneurs and factory owners made them the key players of industrialization, giving them a leading role for the economy as employers and investors. For those households the industrial revolution brought mainly advantages in an economic but also sociological sense. This aspect will be discussed in chapter 8.
As argued above, the transformation of social structures was more dramatic for the rural population, because they had lost their social and cultural surroundings and were forced to leave their homes for the sake of finding work and an income that would at least promise to guarantee subsistence. Although wages for day-laborer and unskilled workers were very Smelser, 1972, p. 35 and 180.
Cipolla, 1972, p. 17.
Cipolla, 1972, p. 19f.
low, due to decreasing opportunities to find an income in rural areas, many people fled from the countryside into the cities, both men and women, if no property was owned that needed to be taken care of.848 The structure of the paternalistic peasant household changed from a self-sustaining pattern to a more and more dependent one, which needed a market to be supplied. The degree of dependence on supplies from outside the household differed, but basically change already came with the emergence of the proto-industrial putting-out-system during the period of early Capitalism. This system developed preferably in areas where ownership of land was divided between all children due to the prevalent inheritance system. In those areas, peasants were in need and also had the time for by-employments. Hence, those households had an additional source of income, which was nevertheless still integrated within the traditional household. Increasingly, the housewife was autonomously following her own trade; additionally she was responsible for the domestic production of industrial goods.849 The (male) domestic head of the household became an ―agricultural business leader‖ who organized the production bearing in mind not merely the well-being of the members of the family but also concerned with the sales of the products on the market.850 This meant that domestic production for one‘s own needs changed to production for the market and making profits, respectively. In the early stage of development the pater familias still incorporated both roles: the business and the domestic head of household, thus being the ‗father‘ of his (extended) family, but having several additional objectives to fulfill. The first and most important ones of those are financing of future production and subsequent selling of products. Being the domestic leader of the household also implies a more complicated bundle of aims: nutrition, health care, education of both children and adult members of the household, community support; the combination of both sets of duties an increasingly unsolvable problem. Still, the traditional family remained for quite a long time the institution that guaranteed the cohesion of wage labor, with the subsistence economy as a network for mutual help and exchange.851 Once people started to move from the countryside into the cities, the hierarchical structure of the traditional household eventually fell apart.852 In regions where the single-heir system prevailed, the younger son was sent away to become part of the permanent indusSombart, 1987 [1908-1927], Vol. III,1, p. 352.
Habakkuk, 1955, p. 10 and Egner, 1985, p. 145.
Egner, 1985, p. 142.
Kaschuba and Gall, 1990, p. 84.
Egner, 1985, p. 139f.