Errance et abandon: La recirculation des enfants pauvres de Dijon

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Recent scholarship on the history of the family in premodern Europe has emphasized the malleability of families as well as the striking mobility of preindustrial populations. Reconstituted households caused by parental death or abandonment were far more common than we have previously thought. The circulation of youth formed an important component of these phenomena. An examination of youth who moved in and out of the General Hospital of Dijon in the eighteenth century reveals the emergence of in loco parentis concepts in preindustrial societies. The circulation of orphaned, abandoned, and vagrant youth was not necessarily an indication of systemic failures of families. Instead, we can also see that the systems created for the supervision and circulation of youth were shared initiatives that flexibly accommodated the interests of Dijon’s poorest families and most prominent residents.

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Revue d’histoire de l’enfance ‘irrégulière’