Marriages among people with disabilities in 19th-century Sweden: marital age and spouse’s characteristics

VIKSTRÖM, Lotta
HAAGE, Helena
HÄGGSTRÖM LUNDEVALLER, Erling

Publication Date 

2020
22 pp

While marrying was an expected event in 19th-century Western society and has been subject to much historical research, there are few studies on how disabilities influenced people’s marriage patterns and spouse selection. The aim of this analysis is to contribute clarification on this issue by examining with whom disabled men and women married and the marital age and socio-demographic characteristics of them and their spouses. In total, 188 disabled individuals born in the first half of the 19th century and who married in the Sundsvall region, Sweden, are studied. The results reveal that disabled men and women did not marry each other, and they entered into marriage at a slightly higher age than the average, although there was usually no marked age gap between them and their spouse. Endogamous patterns were primarily found regarding the socio-spatial background of the two spouses. This analysis is one of the few studies identifying the mar- riages among a comparatively large number of disabled people using demographic data. Their participation in the partner pool highlight their agency historically and emphasize that disability did not lead to distance from social life in past society.

 

 

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