Herlihy's thesis revisited: Some notes on investment in children in medieval muslim societies

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Abstract

David Herlihy proposed "that we seek to evaluate, and on occasion even to measure, the psychological and economic investment which families and societies in the past were willing to make in their children" and suggested an alternative to both the "theory of discovered childhood [in Europe]," as introduced by Philippe Ariés and the notion of Lloyd De Mause that the istorical evolution of child-parent relations in general formed a continuous and irreversible process of progress. This article shows that although we lack some of the archival sources that are essential for reconstructing the real lives of children in the pre modern Mediterranean Muslim world, we are still able, with the "investment" criterion in mind, to assess attitudes toward children, at least in some defined periods of time and geographical regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-247
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family History
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child education
  • Consolation treatises
  • Orphanages
  • Parental emotions
  • Shari'a pediatric writings

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