Book chapter
Open access

Sequence Analysis and Transition to Adulthood: An Exploration of the Access to Reproduction in Nineteenth-Century East Belgium

Published inAdvances in Sequence Analysis: Theory, Method, Applications, Editors Philippe Blanchard & Felix Bühlmann & Jacques-Antoine Gauthier
PublisherCham : Springer International Publishing
  • Life Course Research and Social Policies; 2
Publication date2014

In the population history of European pre-industrial population, late marriage and high level of final celibacy are seen as the most important components of demographic regimes, avoiding an excessive demographic pressure on scarce resources. While during the last decades the scientific approach emphasized the study of individual life trajectories, life transitions are still often considered isolated from each other. In this paper, we look at marriage from an original perspective, as one event on the road to adulthood, whom the position in a given life course is related with other steps like leaving home, establishing a household, and the access to legitimate reproduction through a first birth. Sequence analysis is definitively the appropriate tool for a holistic and integrative approach of the various roads young men and women could take to enter into adulthood. Working on nineteenth century rural regions in East Belgium, we used TraMineR to reconstruct sequences and identified four clusters both for males and females. To complete this exploratory data-mining with an explanatory point of view, we proceeded to univariate ANOVA-like discrepancy analyses of the life trajectories, and then grew a regression tree for our sequences. Results show high level of complexities in rural, supposedly traditional societies, an exercise of individual agency in tolerant but also influent structures that resulted in a high diversity of personal trajectories and a global respect of the social order.

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Citation (ISO format)
ORIS, Michel, RITSCHARD, Gilbert. Sequence Analysis and Transition to Adulthood: An Exploration of the Access to Reproduction in Nineteenth-Century East Belgium. In: Advances in Sequence Analysis: Theory, Method, Applications. Cham : Springer International Publishing, 2014. (Life Course Research and Social Policies) doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-04969-4_8
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