Jewish fertility is a favorite subject of studies regarding the religious determinants of demographic behavior. A long-standing tradition contrasts the fertility of Western- and Central-European Jews with that of the majority populations among whom they lived, showing that the Jews practiced fertility control significantly earlier than the members of other social groupings or religious affiliations. My study departs from this approach. Its main concern is not – or not primarily – about fertility differentials between Jewish and non-Jewish populations, but rather about intra-Jewish differentials, a viewpoint which is usually lacking in historical studies of Jewish fertility. I show that intra-Jewish differences could be much larger than inter-religious ones, and argue that taking them into account provides a fundamental clue to disentangling the distinctive position of European Jews in the history of fertility transition. As a case study I focus on the Jewish community of Venice, analyzed in the twenty years spanning from 1850 to 1869. During this period the process of social integration into the Catholic majority was still underway: while some Jews were already assimilated, many others still clung to their traditional culture, values, and habits. Comparing the fertility of “assimilated” and “non-assimilated” Jews, I argue that such a process, besides other relevant socioeconomic and cultural implications for the Venetian Jews, had also a significant impact on their reproductive behavior.
|Titolo:||Between Identity and Assimilation: Jewish Fertility in Nineteenth-Century Venice|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2006|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||3.1 Articolo su libro|