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CEDAR's seminars

The time for the seminars is Thursday at 13:00-14:00.

Autumn 2021

December 2

Temperance and health among workers in early twentieth century Sweden

Lars Fredrik Andersson, Unit of Economic History and Centre for Demographic and Aging Research, Umeå University

Liselotte Eriksson, Centre for Demographic and Aging Research and Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS)

Magnus Lindmark, Unit of Economic History, Umeå University

The temperance movement mobilized strong public support for reducing alcohol consumption in late 19th and early 20th Sweden. A life style of total abstinence was perceived as the ideal for the individual, and prohibition of alcohol was viewed as the ultimate goal in society at large. At group level, the temperance movement formed their own health insurance societies, to assure their members against labour income losses in the event of illness and accident (and occasionally funeral expenses). Temperance societies viewed the use of alcohol as a health risk and temperance as a way to reduce this risk.

This paper sets out to examine if a favorable selection of risk could have emerged along with the temperance movement in Sweden at the turn of the twentieth century. Our findings contradict the claim that alcohol per se adversely affected health; but shows that moderate drinkers were not different from teetotalers. Our qualitative evidence shows that the recruitment of members was a strict procedure, based on the recommendation of incumbent members held responsible for any misconduct. Admitting individuals with a reputation of alcohol abuse seems for that reason rather unlikely, while being expelled due to alcohol abuse more expected given the social control of members in health insurance societies.

October 14

Religious differences in cause-specific infant mortality in northern Sweden, 1860-1892

Johan Junkka, Umeå University, Maria Hiltonen, Umeå University

Infant mortality rates in Europe declined rapidly during the 19th century. However, not all religious groups benefited equally from this development. Religious affiliation has been shown to affect infant survival, and little is known why some religious groups had lower infant mortality than others. We investigate the relationship between religious affiliation and cause-specific infant mortality. 

We use longitudinal parish register data from northern Sweden covering the period 1860-1900, identifying affiliation to a free church or the state church on a family level. Data on death records are coded using the SHiP historical cause-of-death coding system which is based on the ICD-10 coding system. The SHiP system allows for systematic and comparative analyses of historical causes of death while retaining information from historical designations. Using cause-specific mortality, we can estimate and compare infant mortality risks due to different diseases and causes, such as water- and food-borne diseases. Thus, providing a better understanding of the mechanisms causing religious inequalities in infant mortality during the demographic transition. 


October 7

Romani population in Wallachia, development of a new database

Julieta Rotaru, Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Education

This study draws on the unpublished 1838 first demographic count of Romanian population. As a specificity of this part of Europe, ethnicity or “nationality” was recorded: Romanian, Greek, Hungarian, German, Russian, Țigan, and even sub-ethnic groups of Țigani, based on self-denomination, and the understanding of the situation by the census taker, namely Rudar, Ursar, Căldărar, etc.

MapRom succeeded to gather data about the entire Romani population from Wallachia:  12,282 Roma households (48,508 individuals), from 2,586 localities, 1,304 with Romani population and 1,282 without any Rom inhabitant. The official aggregate tables published in the 1840s show a number of 13,244 Roma households. The difference comes from not having included in our research the Wallachian capital Bucharest (which is the subject of an individual study) and from loss of archival material.

We went through all the volumes from the National Historical Archives, Bucharest (over 100 volumes, cloth paper, dozen linear meters) and selected the Romani population: not only the “Țigan” households, but also the family or individuals who were living on their master’s property. By now, MapRom has a good count of Romani population living on territory of nowadays Southern Romania just before their Emancipation from slavery. We have reconstructed: the Romani household composition, the age of marriage, the professional occupations, their settings, etc.


Mojgan Padyab
Research fellow, associate professor