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Gender contracts in Estonian coastal farming families, 1870-1939
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2012 (English)In: The History of the Family, ISSN 1081-602X, Vol. 17, no 4, 434-451 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper deals with families that lived on the North West coast of Estonia from 1870 to 1939. This period involved a successive transition to a monetary economy for the family farmer and an increasing need for cash to be able to pay rents and debts arising from land purchases. A farm perspective is used to show the complexity of effects of societal changes on the gender division of labour. The study highlights how practices evolve within a specific spatial context in terms of adjustment of gender contracts. It is demonstrated that husbands and wives on farms involved in fishing and seafaring negotiated flexible gender contracts, in which women were flexible and took over men’s work. Such contracts evolved when the men were absent from the farm due to fishing and seafaring duties. Flexible gender contracts developed if other solutions, such as hiring farmhands, were impossible to arrange. Small farms could develop a gender contract for collaboration at sea in which women accompanied their husbands on fishing trips. The results, which are based on interviews and archive sources, indicate that the smaller the family farm, the more inclined women were to take over traditional men’s work. It is argued that different gender contracts are parallel phenomena and that they often seem to be temporary, since they are evaluated in relation to the standard gender contract that acts as a norm in society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2012. Vol. 17, no 4, 434-451 p.
Keyword [en]
Estonia, gender contract, fishing, seafaring, family farming
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography; History
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-187182DOI: 10.1080/1081602X.2012.737759ISI: 000327836500005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-187182DiVA: diva2:573976
Swedish Research Council, VR2004-2742
Available from: 2012-12-04 Created: 2012-12-04 Last updated: 2015-05-25Bibliographically approved

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Grubbström, Ann
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