Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Unwanted ChildThe Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Joel F. Harrington

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226317274

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226317298.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The Unwanted Child
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226317298.003.0001

This introductory chapter begins by considering the role of child abandonment in Western history. It argues that historians' overemphasis on laws and governmental institutions has distorted our understanding of the diverse and complex human relationships involved in the phenomena we classify under the legal categories of child abandonment and infanticide. In other words, our narrow focus on the legal aspects of the problem of unwanted children tends to obscure whatever came before the crime in question. Any explanation of broad social change predicated on such a flawed foundation is self-serving at best and grossly misleading at worst. The chapter then asks what would happen if we took the various acts that we call child abandonment and thought about them in a much broader context, such as what some historical anthropologists call the “circulation of children.” The discussion finally turns to the microhistory approach used in the subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   child abandonment, Western history, circulation of children, microhistory

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.