Karl Kaser

The Joint

Balkan Family

Redefining a Problem
European Household Patterns: Revisiting a Classic Problem
Researchon the Balkanjoint family,often incorrectlygeneralizedas zadruga,' shows three strikingcharacteristics.First, although there is an abundanceof scholarly literatureon this issue, most of it is not linked to general questions about family and household structure in western Europe or even eastern Europe. This is unfortunatebecause findings are not seen in a broadercontext and are interpretedin isolation. Second, the most importantresearchof the postwar decades is that of three American scholars: the anthropologist
SocialScienceHistory18:2 (Summer1994).Copyright? 1994by the Social Science History Association.CCC 0145-5532/94/$1.50.

244 Social Science History Joel M. Halpern, the historical demographerand anthropologistEugene A. Hammel, and the historianPhilip E. Mosely. Balkanhistoriansusually have not investigated the structure and function of kin relationships within the joint family household but have studied the household from the perspective of political development. Dragutin Pavlicevic's recent book on the zadruga in Croatia during the nineteenth century is a good example of this (Pavlicevic 1989). He shows how the zadrugabecame a political issue in Croatia. Conservative populists considered the zadruga as the essence of Croatian popular culture and wanted to have it legally protected. In the thinking of liberals, on the other hand, the zadrugawas an obstacle to rapid economic development and therefore not worth conserving. Third, the origin of the Balkanjoint family household is not yet understood. Hammel's attitude still reflects the present state of research. He suggests that the existence of the joint family is not so unusual but rather predicable under certain circumstances. From his anthropologicalperspective, to discuss "whether it is an institution peculiarto this or that people or not is a waste of time" (Hammel 1976: 114-15). But from the point of view of the history of ethnicity and national ideologies it is pertinent indeed. Maria Todorova has argued that historical documentationis not sufficient to prove the existence of the joint family or zadrugabefore the nineteenth century. She finds the theory that the zadrugais a phenomenonof the nineteenth and twentieth centuries more reasonablethan the assumption of its long-term existence (Todorova1990: 63-64). For both Hammel and Todorova, the search for earlier origins is difficult to justify. As a historian approaching this problem of the origins of the Balkan joint family, I differ with both Hammel and Todorova. My aim is to reformulate the question of the emergence of the Balkan joint family. It is my suggestion that the Balkanjoint family came into being independently from other eastern Europeanjoint family household organizations.Its social history is unusual. In what follows, I address two aspects of this history. First, I explore the joint family household in eastern Europe and regional patterns in household structure. Second, I present my findings about the joint family households of the so-called Austrianmilitary border in Croatiaat the beginning of the eighteenth century and the role of ethnicity in household structure.

The simple household system in preindustrialtimes was concentrated in northwestern Europe (Scandinavia. In western and central Europe. between 10 and 15% of the female population). and there was a presumption that the reasons for its emergence were everywhere more or less the same. In western Hungary the age at marriagewas found to be lower than in western Europe and a little bit higher than in eastern Hungary (Andorkaand BalaczKovacs 1987:173-74). The rules of formation of the simple (nuclear)household systems revolved around the postponement of marriage for both genders (men until about 26 years. In eastern Europe. The marriagepattern in Greece was also assumed to fall between the western and the eastern patterns (Hajnal 1965:103). household members have often included related as well as unrelated persons. The thesis that an eastern Europeanmarriagepattern contrastedwith a western European one since the sixteenth century has not been disproved.the household has consisted predominantly of kin (Hajnal 1983: 97-99. Household formation is closely related to marriagebehavior. By contrast. consisting of two or more relatednuclearfamilies. women until about 23 years) and the circulation of both sexes before marriageas servants. the eastern European pattern is characterizedby a low age at marriageand a low percentage (less than 5) of people never marrying(Hajnal 1965).The BalkanJoint Family 245 The Joint Family Household in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans The paucity of broad investigationsof family history in eastern Europe contrasts with the abundantresearch dealing with family structures in western and central Europe. Hajnal makes his typology concrete by specifying two different household systems. the German-speakingareas. on the contrary.The rules of .. The western European marriage pattern is characterizedby a high age at marriageand a high percentage of people still single at age 50 (i.and northern Italy).was the structure common in eastern Europe. Mitterauer 1980: 59-60). Until recently the whole eastern part of Europe was subsumed under the eastern Europeanmarriageand household pattern. the British Isles. 1983). The postulation of a dividing line between the two patterns-stretching from Trieste in the south to St.The joint household system. Petersburgin the north-was supported by Hungarianmarriagedata. the Netherlands. Two valuable articles by John Hajnal are exceptional (Hajnal 1965.e.

Households including two or more couples later divided into two or more households. According to this system the Balkan area belongs to the Mediterraneancategory (Laslett 1983: 513-30).when the young couple started a household. and Portugal are mixed.He suggests. Hajnal also argued that the size of an averagehousehold in the joint household region was not significantly higher than in the simple household area (Hajnal 1983:65-83). but the pertinent boundaries are not well demarcated. Moreover.he divided Europe into not two but four parts. Hajnal argues that the easternmarriagepatternand household system were common across Europe in earlier times (Hajnal 1965.The western simple household pattern covered northern and western Europe.Hungary. There is an additional aspect to these arguments. This principle made late marriageunavoidablesince couples had to wait until parents died or retired or until they had collected the resources necessary to buy a farmstead (Alter 1991:1). a statement not without its problems.accordingto this scheme. 1983). The reason for the delay in marriagewas the necessity for the married couple to found a self-sustaining household.while the joint household system region has an easternand a Mediterraneantype. Wally Seccombe has recently argued that there are links between late marriageand emergingindustrialcapitalismin western Europe. The division is not oriented along present borders:France is divided between western and western/central tendencies.246 SocialScience History formation of the joint family household centered on early marriage(under the age of 26 for men and 21 for women). shows four distinctive tendencies within the same two major structures:the simple household system region has a western and a "Western/Central or Middle European" tendency. while the easternjoint family model applied in eastern and southern Europe. Although he states one cannot specify the time and reasons for the emergence of the western European pattern. . Germany. they were responsible for an older couple. Domestic group organization. he posits a decisive transitionalstage between 1400 and 1650 (Hajnal 1965:122-24). A divergent collective historical fate links these regional differences in household structure to different political and socioeconomic developments. This west-east division of marriage patterns and household systems seems to be well established. Peter Laslett agreed with Hajnal's model. but by including criteria of work-groupmembership.

starting with Michael Mitterauer and Alexander Kagan's investigation of the Russian province of Jaroslavl'. The second group was the dvorovyeIjudi. in western Europe. Recent investigations. Late marriagemade for improved life security and the increased productivity of the female labor force.5% single households.The Balkan JointFamily 247 in fact. 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow.8% complex. on one hand. As a result of these different developments. There were the krestjane. It supported capital formation. the proportion rises to 40% or more. late marriagewas not unknown in the west but was not the rule.In eastern Europe just the opposite was the case. The proportion of complexity was also relatively low.makingit possible to utilize a cheap and mobile laborforce (Seccombe 1990:63-65). These numbers are only slightly higher than the equivalent in the western or central Europeanareas at that period. Andrejs Plakans points out that. and only 29.2 members. The serfs of the landlords were basically divided into two groups.who worked directly for their lords as household servants. and in eastern Europe there developed the tendency toward conservationof the joint family household.7% extended. with some exceptions. In western Europe the feudal crises ended with a reorganization of feudal relationsthrough the promotion of commodities and monetary profits.who paid taxes and made deliveries to the lords. however. His account of the origin of delayed marriagerests on the differingoutcomes of the feudal crises of the fourteenthcentury in the east and west. 11. that late marriagewas one of the main reasons for the emergence of industrialcapitalism in the west and that early marriagewas an obstacle to a similar development in the east. Complexity of the household structure in eastern Europe appears not to follow any general rule. which made early marriageno longer necessary. There were 58.There was the maintenanceand strengthening of profits from labor in the context of the maintenance of traditionalmarriage and household patterns (Seccombe 1990: 53-63). nuclear and stem family forms emerged as the absolutely predominantpattern. The average family size was relatively low at 5. Until then. Let us turn to the results of some recent microstudies. in the mid-eighteenth century. It is not surprising that under these circum- . show us that the situation is not as simple as it once appeared. the microlevel researchon the structureof eastern Europeanfamilies clearly demonstratesthat the proportion of multiple families in a given population in the region is only about 20%.2 If the extended family is included.

The Hungarian situation was completely different. where complex family households existed to a large degree outside noble estates.0 and 9.The landlordsforbadehouseholds to break up because this was to their disadvantage. in 1858.248 Social Science History stances the averagemarriageage was relatively high: only 25. in some areasof Transdanubia nia. Gunda 1982). 170 kilometerssoutheast of Moscow. and in certain Hungarianvillages of Slavonia(Croatia). The origins of the complex household systems. Certain aspects of the existing landlord-dominated agriculturalsystem supported the emergence of complex households. Czap's research results reveal an intensified eastern European Ijudidominated. which was a disadvantagefor the feudal lords.This appears to have been the situation in Russia and the Baltic regions. the social strataof krestjaneand dvorovye It seems as if the landlordsdeliberately kept the household size large. too.Here.which belonged until 1918 to Hungary (Andorka and Farago 1983. The demographic pressure resulted in a growing tendency for households to split. Complex household structures existed and Transylvaonly in present-day Slovakia. . pattern.but aroundthe capitalBuda and in the Great Plains it was similar to western Europe. These changes diminished the material basis holding the household together.2% of men 20-24 were alreadymarried(Mitterauer and Kagan 1982).There are good statistical data for the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. The household size in the southern Transdanubiaregion was slightly higher than in western Europe.The complexity of the households was also striking:in 1814the proportionwas 79%. 73% (Czap 1983).Thus the households could provide more labor than they would have without any intervention.2 for Jaroslavl'. Generally.The landlords were thus interested in keeping the families large (Gunda 1982: 49-51). This was an obvious benefit for the feudal lord. cannot be traced back further than the seventeenth century. but this was only partly the case in the Balkans. Andorka and BalaczKovacs 1987.household size was smaller than in Russia. The averagehousehold consisted of between 8. according to Hungarian historians.8% of women 15-19 years old and 65. A very differentpicture emerges from Mishino. It seems that in most parts of eastern Europe complex family households were the result of landlords'dominationof agriculture. During the years 1814-58 the maximal household size ranged between 18 and 25 members.7 members and was thus more than 50% higher than the 5. however.

Second. The system required that to succeed to bordelage with property. Another striking example is the complex household structure in the sharecropbelt of northern Italy (stretchingfrom Umbria throughTuscanyto Emilia-Romana). Third. meant that the property again reverted to the landlord(Shaffer1982). Nivernais. called in French the communaute. and an elevated age at which men took over the leadershipof the household (45 or higher) (Kertzer 1989:10).Its emergencewas caused by the bordelage system. the related thesis that states that joint family households are associated with early marriage for women no longer holds. where the proportion of joint family households is high but the averagemarriageage is the same as in western Europe .The relationship between complexity and the institution of sharecroppingis also apparent. The parallels between the household system of the Russian serfs and the Italian tenants are striking. as the Russian Baltics. Thus. The reason is obvious. In both cases are found joint family organization.The Balkan JointFamily 249 If easternEuropeanhousehold structuresshow an interestingvariability. a mitigated form of serfdom. all of these examples show a relationship between the interests of noble landowners and the emergence of complex family households.There is documentationof the existence and development of this household type beginning in the sixteenth century.A high frequency of complex household structures is evident here since the fifteenth century. it is also true that complex household structures were not restricted to eastern Europe. The products of the plot were divided into equal parts between landlord and tenant (Kertzer 1989: 4).patrilateralextension. in eastern Europe feudal structures typically remained stronger than in western Europe. A significant western European example is the joint family in the central French province household. The Italian example shows an opposite picture. What conclusions can we draw? First. these interests were related to a series of agrariandevelopments beginning in the sixteenth century. It was forbidden to divide permaFailure to adhere to these provisions nently property held under bordelage. the model of a characteristicallybifurcated eastern and western European pattern has validity but does not cover each specific region. despite the exceptions of joint family households in western Europe and widespread simple household systems in eastern Europe.the heir be living in a communaute the leaseholder at the time of his death. Every year contracts were concluded between landlordsand tenants obliging all family members to work on the leased soil and not to do other work.

western and central Bulgaria. sity that household processes are interactionsof variouseconomic. southern Macedonia. He defines three belts: the main belt stretches across the adjacentterritoriesof the Montenegrin and northern and central Albaniantribalsocieties. of within a household forms society demonstrates.g. Half a century later the American anthropologist Traian Stoianovich . These revisions provide a frameworkin which to return to the problem of the emergence of the joint family in the Balkans. Here joint family households were a strong element of the tribalsystem. and central Albania. pleads for the extension of the researchfrom the micro to the regionallevel (e. it is now clear that an assumed sharp contrast in the geographicaldistribution of a simple western family household and The diveran eastern multiple or joint family household is not appropriate.The third belt stretches north.. The key to the study of households is "the recognition of patterns of interarealvariation" (Kertzer 1989: 11-12). demographic. The second belt extends south. arguing from the microlevel. and southwestern Albanian mountains). and cultural conditions. and south from the second belt irregularlyover the plains and rocky valleys of Croatia. Finally. Slavonia.The question is. and north from the tribal areas across the mountainous regions of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Plakans. The ascribing of patterns to geographical units is generally correct but can vary on the regional level.250 SocialScience History (Kertzer 1989: 11). northern and central Macedonia. or the result of an independent development on a regional level? The Balkan Joint Family Evidence about the recent distribution of the Balkan joint family provides a good starting point. east. political. northern Greek. western Croatia.accordingto Kertzer. Mosely's field research in the late 1930s presents a clear picture of the regions where joint family households could be found in the early twentieth century. comparative studies of the Balkans and the Baltics) to develop long-term variants within eastern Europe (Plakans1987:137-38). east. Some additionalisolated areas were parts of this second belt (in the western Bulgarian. as Todorova and Hammel suggest. and southern Albania (Mosely 1976a:60-61). pre-1912 Serbia. was it part of a general eastern European demographic development.

Knowledge about the founder of the patrilinealline and the genealogicalchain and the strikingcelebration of the ancestor is a cultural phenomenon of the Balkans that has no equivalent elsewhere in Europe. such as among mountainous pastoral societies. that from about 1500 up to the twentieth century the joint family household was widespread in the western Balkans.The Balkan Joint Family 251 came to similar conclusions. a correspondingly elevated birthrate. is that we have to consider the joint family as an ongoing process of emer- . based on archival data. stressed by the Halperns and Hammel. emergence. A pastoral economy in particular might have promoted the emergence of complex family structures.3 First of all. Pastoralism interacts with another interesting Balkan peculiarity-ancestor worship. ecological variables. a stable age distribution. He argued. now obsolete. Older theories. The idea of an Old Slavic heritage has been discredited (Mitterauer 1980: 62-66).that the mode of production cannot explain this cultural phenomenon sufficiently (Mitterauer 1980: 67. 1983). Mitterauer suggests that consciousness of patrilineal ancestors was strong in regions where environmentaland ecological conditions were especially trying. He adds. Hammel suggests consideringthe Balkanjoint family as result of the impact of legal and fiscal institutions. where a cash economy and wage work played a lesser role. with the larger households found in the mountainousregions and an averagehousehold size in the valleys and plains that was considerablylower. the joint family was not ethnically determined.4 Mitterauer stresses the ecological factors. saw the joint family either as a particularOld Slavic institution or as a result of the Byzantine tax collection system (Gavazzi1982:100-102). and history are still under discussion. But the connection is worth consideration.The lowest rate was on the coastal sites of the Adriatic. He notes that the distribution of joint family households is more or less confined to mountainous. and a very low age at marriage(Stoianovich 1980: 189-97). and preexisting social patterns (Hammel 1980: 244). 75-77). questions about origins. Todorova agrees with Stoianovich and limits the eastern distribution of the joint family to the mountainous parts of western Bulgaria (Todorova1990:18-19. however.Up to the nineteenth century a special biosocial regime prevailed in the western Balkans which was characterizedby a high and stable death rate. remote regions. Another important observation. If scholars agree on the distribution of the joint family.

for example. Halpern. however. fission. and reconstitution.Joint families have their origins in nuclear families and can again divide into nuclearfamilies (Hammel 1972:370). Even where statistics show only a small number of joint households.e. He demonstrates a constantly decreasinghousehold size and a change from a pattern of sons marryingand staying at home (i. Filipovic 1976).Halpern 1958. Hammel reminds us further that we should not expect that most households would be joint family households even where this is the ideal. a multiple family structure)to stem family (with only one married son remaining) as a historic evolution. as Halpern points out. a longer cycle (when. Halpern and Halpern-Kerewsky1972). The decline of the Balkan joint family is well documented (Pavlicevic 1989.252 Social Science History gence.Vucinich1976. A short cycle (when.. for example. The earliest documentary proofs of the existence of joint families are Serbianhousehold listings for the fourteenthcentury.Hammel and Filipovic . capture only one point in time. shows not only cyclical transformation but historic change over two centuries. Household size data.His data also support Mitterauer'snotions about the role of the pastoraleconomy since in Halpern'smicrostudythe decline in household size is linked to a decreasing emphasis on pastoralismin the economy.and in largervillages one can expect to find households in various stages of formation. This is why the averagehousehold size is not a good indicatorof structure (Hammel 1980: 246-53). Household size is constantly changing through birth and death and economic circumstances(Halpern 1974:405). It is possible for people to form a joint family household only at certain points in their lives.Dalmatian documents give no direct evidence. the sons stay in the household and marry)enlarges households.and twentieth-centurydata. But its origins remain obscure. Gavazzi avers that it may have emerged as far back as the eleventh century. each person may have lived within a joint family at some point of his or her life.and late-nineteenth century as forest was cut down to expand arableland (Halpern 1974:403-5. rather only indirect and vague indications of existing joint families (Gavazzi 1982: 90).Erlich 1976.Backer1979. Households go through cycles as their membersmature. part of the process of modernization.Mosely 1976b. all the sons and daughters except the successor leave the household early) produces smaller households. by combining nineteenth. This raises the question of the household cycle. the pasturingof swine in oak forests diminished in the mid.

The high concentration of joint families among the Belgrade Vlachs in 1528 was so striking that he picked out these Vlachian families from the Decani. His results are very impressive. the possibility that certain social and ethnic groups or peoples could have tended to form joint families more readily than others.The most crucial remainingquestion is whether the .5 To sum up.The household listings for the monastery of Sveti Stefan (1313-18) show the existence of few joint families (Hammel 1980: 262). A problemwith Hammel's analysisis that he excluded. but the Chilander listing includes only Greek and Slavic families. Villages vary regionally with respect to the proportion of complex households. Hammel's findings are disappointing.we have specific information about the decades of decline. It is worth mentioning that the listings of Decani and Sveti Stefan include Albanian and Vlachian pastoral families.the rest were complex families (Hammel 1980:262). ecological. and only 9% of the families were lineally and another 9% laterally extended (Hammel 1980: 259-62).7% were definitively joint families.The Balkan Joint Family 253 have studied the complexity of Serbianhouseholds using this data. An Ottoman census (consisting of Belgrade Vlach families in 1528) shows still a different result: 41% of the households were nuclear. and Arhandjelihousehold listings. The rest is speculation.No household consisted of more than two conjugal couples.The first of the two Chrysobulls of the monasteryDecani (dated 1330 and 1336) shows that roughly half of the families were joint households (Hammel 1976: 111). we know a lot about the distribution of the Balkan joint family in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We have evidence documenting its existence in the fourteenth century. that there is a relationshipwith the pastoraleconomy and that there are legal.9% of the 1. a priori. regions and villages with a low proportionwere not unusual.9% of the cases it appears that joint families were possible (Filipovic 1963: 65-75). and reconstruction.Finally. the picture is inconsistent. Filipovic followed a different path. Thus. and preexisting social patterns that furnish the context for emergence of a joint family structure.We know further that we have to recognize that the joint family evolves through an ongoing process of emergence. and in 31. Sveti Stefan. 44. A later listing of six villages in Macedonia belonging to the Serbian Athos monasteryof Chilandaris even less encouraging.for example.178Vlachian families were nuclearfamilies. For those expecting a high proportion of joint family households.Only 23. fission.

or no feudal obligationsexcept military service). A separateregion. Feudal relationscollapsed because the estates of the lords were worthless without serfs. The territoryof the privileged military border population was administered separatelyfrom feudal hinterlandto avoid tensions. Bosnia. . then the medieval Balkan states (Serbia. Habsburg troops were successful in pushing back the Ottoman army. around the middle of the sixteenth century.I would like to present some evidence that may recast the problem. The main problem was that because of the devastationinflicted by the fighting. They first entered Byzantium. Hungary. running through Croatia and Hungary and separating the Habsburg from the Ottoman territories.almost the whole population had fled.the militaryborderlost its meaning as a defensive institution. called Militdrgrenze(military border). New Evidence: The Census of 1712 in the Lika Military Border Region and the Return of Ethnicity Household listings stored in the archivesin Graz. the Ottomans extended their empire across almost the whole of southeasternEurope.To encouragesettlers the Habsburgrulers promised special privileges (free land. Between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries.254 SocialScience History emergence of this family type was caused primarilyby demographicfactors that pertainedthroughout eastern Europe or was a result of an independent Balkan development that has less to do with general demographic development than with a preexisting culture. After the second siege of Vienna (1683).Vlachia. Bulgaria. Although current research supports the first interpretation. In the middle of the fourteenth century. Austria(Kaser 1986). Finally. founding strongly fortified castles with full-time military forces. came into being. Before I describe the census of the year 1712. The Habsburg Empire began then to fortify this border.some historical backgroundis essential. but it continued to exist administrativelyuntil its dissolution between 1871and 1881(Kaser 1986). troops of the emerging Ottoman Empire in Asia Minor began to conquer the southeastern parts of Europe. a stable border emerged. suggest a way to redefine the problem of the origin of the Balkan joint family. and Moldavia).

and 17 were purely Vlach. The rapidresettlement of the province after the Habsburg-Ottoman war was almost complete by 1712.These families lived in 36 villages. Their efforts were finally successful.6nowadays the very southeastern part of Croatia proper. they were also to list family possessions.110 in 1712 (Kaser 1986: 212). The smallest group (46 families) was called Neochristiani(former Muslims. converted to Catholicism). From then on it was administratedby the Inner Austrian Court Chamber.133 in 1746 (Kaser 1986: 213-19). owing only military service. In most cases there were no regulations about the size of the lands to be occupied by families.561 Orthodox Vlachian families.Before they did so. however. But not more than 50 households were in possession of such a letter in 1712 (Kaser 1986: 230). and in 1712 the court chamber handed the Lika district over to the military borderadministration.898 in 1712to 36. located in Graz. it had been almost completely evacuated by the previous Muslim population. most of them of Slavic origin.Until the .The largest group was 1.630 in 1701and to 2. During the following decades the area was intensively repopulated.As part of the military border. they would be free people.7 When Lika was reconquered by Habsburg troops in 1689. Households that received their land from the court chamber in an organized and legal way were given a letter of confirmation.The population increased from 27.Lika-Krbava(latersimply Lika).The Balkan JointFamily 255 The particularareaunder study. The number of families settled there grew from 553 in 1696 to 1.The result is the oldest complete household listing of the military border that has survived. There is no further sign of officialintervention in the existing family structure. Only a couple of villages show a systematic land division. 299 families were Catholic Croats. Eleven were of mixed Croatian-Vlach composition.The so called Bunjevci or Catholic Vlachs8 included 204 families. The commission worked from 17 September to 30 October 1712.they sent a census commission to the province charged with describing and enumerating the population by family groups and by ethnicity. The population of this region wished to become incorporatedinto the neighboring military border administration. Usually the households took as much land as they could work. In 1712 the population consisted of four distinctive groups.was part of the Ottoman Empire until it was reconquered by Habsburg troops in 1689. some 8 villages were purely Croatian. mostly of Slavic origin. It is obvious that the settlement process was not officiallyorganized.

The databaseis 2. The biggest house- .The size of the holdings varied considerably between villages and families. In the Vlach and Bunjevci villages the percentage of households consisting of fewer than 10 members is only around50.8 (Bilaj). The differences between groups are not random. and Modrus [6. ranging from 6. The census informationenables us to reconstruct the family structures existing in the fall of 1712and to assess the distributionof joint family households.9]) (Kaser 1986:187.8 and the Vlach 10.5 for this village.18 households had between 31 and 35 members.7].amongthe Vlachs and Bunjevci.g.The small Croatianfamilies were the cause of the relatively small average size. It is very striking that the average family size in the Croatian villages was comparativelylow. In the year 1697 the averagehousehold size of the village of Plaski was 11.3 (Vrebac). It is worth mentioning that the Vlach and Bunjevci averagesare more or less identical with other Vlachian villages in the military border (e. Otok [6. By contrast the Vlach and Bunjevci villages show a relatively high averagefamily size. Moreover. Their range is between 8.249 landowningfamilies consisting of 25.. but they reveal general and comparative tendencies.5..The low averageof Mutilic is misleading.This village was inhabited by 170 Croats and 327 Vlachs.6]. Plaski or Gomirje). (The Croatian average is 6.6.291household members. Despite Hammel's warningnot to rely on averagehousehold size. The figures say nothing by themselves about family structure. 241-43).9 (Mutilic) and 17.256 Social Science History census of 1712 the administrationdid not even have a clear picture about the existing land distribution. Most are grouped around 7. more than 80% of the households in the Croatian villages consisted of 10 or fewer members. Croatian households consisting of more than 15 members are rare exceptions (9 households for all villages).) In most of the Vlach and Bunjevci villages the averagehousehold size ranged from 12 to 13 members.With the exception of the villages of Budak and Musaluk. I nevertheless investigated it because the numbers can show whether or not all subgroups of the population had the same tendency to construct a particularsize of household. Ostarije [6.g. households consisting of more than 20 members were not rare. and Halpern's reservations.0 (Kaludjerovac)to 8. The next step is to explore the range of households sizes in these villages. and three households had more than 40.2and of Gomirje 11.The Croatian average also corresponds to other Croatian villages of the military border (e.

0 10.0 7.9 12.6 11.1 11.4 7.8 6.4 10.0 8.2 11.3 13.4 10.3 12.3 13.0 9.The BalkanJoint Family 257 Table 1 Village Vlachs Bruvno Bunic Divoselo Gracac Josane Komic Korenica Mazin Medak Mekinjar Mogoric Mutilic Ostrovica Pecane Pisa Ploca Pocitelj Popina Radu SirokaKula SrednjaGora VisuC Vrebac Zvonigrad Bunjevci Lovinac Pazariste Smiljan Croats Bilaj Brusane Budak Kaludjerovac Musaluk Novi Podlapac 12 19 33 27 18 62 52 8.9 12.6 13.5 17.3 13.8 7.7 11.6 7.6 14.6 .9 A)rerage household size of Lika villages in 1712 Numberof landowning households 45 97 53 156 43 29 119 40 112 59 65 56 34 13 49 43 41 93 70 59 33 58 43 95 121 95 120 Averagesize (persons) 14.7 12.2 12.0 14.0 11.1 10.7 11.8 6.3 12.1 10.

take the following excerpt from the census: Miho Hronich let 40. Ivan 30. zenske 3 (Miho Hronich age 40. female 23). The third step is decisive. Franin sin Jure 16. The language is a Croatian or Serbian dialect. But in this respect there is a methodologicalproblem in analyzingthe census data. Nicola 32.5 11. since it entails the number of related nuclear families joined in a household. mala 20. older brother 50. age 40. Frane's son Jure 16. Miho 34. It is easier to be precise about households consisting of only one nuclear family. Now let us look at a more complicated example: Anton Balenovich od let 40. Sinovacz Stoian 20. Markovsin Simun 16. male youngsters 1. male youngsters 20. Nicola 32. Illia 28. Brothers: Frane. Nephew Stoian 20. Evidence of at least two coresident related nuclear families is necessary for a household to be considered joint. there is another male present less than 16 years old (the age of males over 16 is specified) and 3 female persons of indeterminateage.258 Social Science History Table 1 (Continued) Village Ribnik Udbina Neochristiani Perusic Total households Numberof landowning 30 70 85 2. Zenskoga 23 (Anton Balenovich of age 40. For example. Marko 36. Pave 38. It is logical to presume that the young male (probablyMiho's son) is unmarried. Illia 28. consisting of 54 members. Pave38. Ivan 30. female 3).249 Averagesize (persons) 6. . Marko's son Simun 16.7 7. A detailed description of the land owned by the household follows. was that of the Bunjevac Anton Balenovich in the village of Pazariste(Kaser 1986: 243). thus making this a typical nuclear family. because it does not indicate the marital status of the coresiding men. Bratia:Frane Stary brat 50.2 hold. Marko 36. though of course we cannot be certain. mali 1. Miho 34.and it is probable that one of the females is Miho Hronich's wife. It seems clear the interpretation would be that the head of the household is Miho Hronich.3 11.

6 12.3 25.5 11.1 18.2 30.0 0 1.1 6.2 0 0 0 0 0 2.0 23.3 0 3.2 12.7 55.3 21.9 11.2 7.2 2.0 23.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.8 34.1 26.7 11.0 13.8 24.9 0 3.The BalkanJoint Family 259 Table 2 Distribution of household size of Lika villages (percentage) Numberof householdmembers Village Vlachs Bruvno Bunic Divoselo Gracac Komic Korenica Mazin N 1-5 8. Smiljan.5 38.4 0 1.2 45 150 53 158 29 109 40 59 Mekinjar 65 Mogoric 56 Mutilic 35 Ostrovica 13 Pecane 43 Ploca 41 Pocitelj 89 Popina Radu 70 59 SirokaKula SrednjaGora 33 Visuc 58 Bunjevci Lovinac Pazariste Croats Bilaj Budak 24 33 Kaludjerovac 27 18 Musaluk 62 Novi Ribnik 30 69 Udbina Neochristiani Perusic Total 80 123 11.7 6.9 9.1 13.3 9.9 13.4 0 3.4 0.4 5.6 0 5.6 37.5 30.1 4.9 37.7 7.4 27.7 0 1.7 24.0 13.4 26.1 28.1 36.4 17.3 41+ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.9 8.9 3.2 42.1 12.2 12.1 20.5 5.3 1.7 15.3 10.0 1.0 0 0 0 4. .8 6.4 6.9 13.5 63.2 1.7 56.3 3.1 0 0 0 3.0 24.3 34. Pisa.3 12.8 10.9 0 0 0 5.5 29.0 5.4 4.5 45.7 2.1 46.3 6-10 31.7 0 0.3 29.9 1.0 26.1 55.7 2.3 7.0 14.2 4.4 3.0 40.5 21.4 15.4 40.5 8.7 27.6 9.3 16-20 15.7 19.8 51.1 46.0 38.6 27.9 7.3 0 6.8 7.1 25.3 0 0.9 3.2 47.8 47.3 9.2 9.8 12.9 11.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.5 0 0 0 5.9 11. Josane.3 6.4 7.8 10.9 20.7 0 4.7 9.9 54.5 50.2 30.9 10. Vrebac.3 2.8 20.8 7.0 27.1 4.2 44.9 16.842 14.3 32.5 5.4 7.6 14.3 1.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.7 31-35 2.4 21-25 8.6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.1 10.1 29.2 0 0 0 0 0.7 23.8 1.0 5.0 47.7 2.4 38.1 7.6 11.1 3. Podlapac.8 4.9 66.4 Note: Medak.5 27.9 9.4 24.4 0 0 0 0 2. and Brusane are not included in Table 2 because the census does not include a breakdownby village.2 102 4.8 21.6 0 5.0 26.0 36-40 4.2 51.7 11-15 20.5 26-30 8.9 36.7 4.2 2. Zvonigrad.6 19.

32. 38. In most Vlach and Bunjevci villages.9% and 35. Thus this joint family household might have consisted of eight nuclear families. 34. Nicola. the distribution of joint families was only 41. At least three nuclear families exist: Anton is head. and Frane'sand Marko'ssons arementioned. one can state that the tendency to construct joint family households was very weak among the Croatian families and considerablystrongeramong the Vlachs and Bunjevci. . Anton Balenovich.3%. Komic with 72. and in Siroka Kula. The difference between the Croatian and the Vlach/Bunjevci households is striking.one would expect that all of them are married. both with an average of 10.4%.8%. 41. Pave. Despite necessarycautions. in only 8 Croatian joint family households was the numberof apparentlycoresiding nuclear families greater than 2.260 Social Science History Again.8% of the households were joint. There are further 20 males under 16 and 23 female persons. In the Croatian villages the percentage of joint family households is relatively small. the older brother. My interpretationis that the head of the household. Miho. 43. varying from 4 to 23. In Mutilic and Visuc. the joint family household was predominant. is 40 years old. whereas only 4% of the Croatian households of Mutilic were joint but 42% of its Vlach households were joint.The highest figures are for the villages Bruvno with 77. 30. The fact that there are 20 young males and 23 females supports this assumption. 36.5%. 28. for a total of 54. Because of the age of the other brothers. In some of the Vlach villages the joint family was not predominant:in Mekinjar45.8% joint. 47. age 50. respectively. Anton's nephew (brother'sson) Stoian is 20 years old. The figures show in addition. The reason that his father is not mentioned might be that he was alreadydeceased at that time. in Gracac.5% (Kaser 1986:243-48).Between 35 and 51% of the Bunjevci households and from 42 to 78% of the Vlach households were joint.1%. Mazin with 67. Frane's son Jure and Marko's son Simun are both 16. however.even if the specific makeup is not always certain. It is possible to decide whether or not a joint family existed with relatively high accuracy. that the averagehousehold size of a village must be around11where there is a rough balancebetween nuclearand joint family households.5 members. in Visuc. His brothers are Frane. Marko. and Illia. Moreover. a detailed description of the land possessions of the household follows. Ivan. That this household is joint is evident.without exception.

3 48.1 10.5 45.2 35.The BalkanJoint Family 261 Table 3 Village Vlachs Bruvno Buni a Divoselo Gracac Komic Korenica Mazin Mekinjar Mogoric Mutilic/Vlachs Ostrovica Pecane Plocaa Pocitelj Popinaa Radu' SirokaKula SrednjaGora Visuc Bunjevci Lovinac Pazariste Croats Bilaj Budak Kaludjerovac Musaluk Mutilic/Croats Novib Ribnik Udbina Neochristiani Perusic 20.0 14.7 41. and Brusane.6 6.9 12. Podlapac.8 13.1 67.4 66.0 10.8 7.4 46.8 18.5 11.2 11.2 11.2 11.7 11.9 10.2 4.5 11.4 6.9 11.5 12.3 13.4 12.7 7.2 24 33 27 18 25 56 30 69 80 Measures of Lika household composition % joint family households 77.4 10.9 41.3 6.1 53.9 11. aThe data for one family are missing.5 7.5 47.7 43.2 10.5 69.8 59.3 13.0 20.1 51.6 10. b The data for six families are missing.8 7. .1 10.5 12.1 53.8 53.3 Mean household size (persons) 14.7 54.5 8. Vrebac.0 23.9 57.3 N 45 149 43 158 29 109 40 59 65 31 35 13 42 41 88 69 59 33 58 123 102 Note: There are no detailed listings for Medak.9 64. Smiljan.8 72.1 22.3 51.

and 42 households consisted of 2 nuclear families. The likely answer seems clear. our census provides some answers.6% is a little higher than the number of joint family households. Most of these families were very small and simply structured. Only 53 of the 342 households were joint families. The critical averagecoefficient seems to be 11and is applicablenot only to these villages but to the whole region as well. the joint family dominated with 54. in particularfrom a sample census of 342 families who had arrived a few months before but had not yet received land.5 household members is associated with a pattern of about 25% joint family households: the averageof 14 to 15 members suggests a far higher distribution. about 66 to 75% joint family households (Kaser 1986: 248). Our investigation shows further that a village averageof roughly 7. The household average was only 6.9% (household average10. only 11households consisted of more than 2 nuclear families. The final question to be considered is what the structuresof the families of the different groups were when they arrivedin the Lika region during the two decades before 1712.9 The Croatian families left the estates of Croatian landlords from the Habsburgian/Croatian hinterland. They left them and arrived as nuclear families in Lika. It is logical to infer that most of the joint households had originally arrived in Lika as nuclear families. Of these 53.2 members.7.7% and in Mogoric with 53.Were they alreadyjoint or nuclear families? Concerning this question. and so arrived as nuclear families. Two explanationsare possible. not joint households. They did . We cannot expect that it was a peculiarity of these 342 new families to arrivepredominantlyas nuclear families. had previously formed joint family households. with an averagehousehold size of 11. After settling they again started to rebuild joint families accordingto their traditionsand usual social behavior.0.9). Either they came as nuclear families because they had lived previously as nuclear families. They obviously had been accustomed to forming nuclear families.262 Social Science History On the other hand. or else they had lived in joint families before and left them for the purpose of seeking better living conditions. in Divoselo. The averagehousehold size of the landowning population is 10. arrivingas refugees from differentpartsof the neighboringOttoman Empire.The Vlachian/Bunjevci families. This was true for both the Croatian as well as the Vlachian/ Bunjevci families. At that figure the number of nuclear families at 52.

The background for this decision was the border's loss of its original function with the decline of the military strength of the Ottoman state.The Balkan JointFamily 263 not show a strong tendency to create joint families because this was opposed to their traditions and contraryto their usual behavior (Kaser 1986: 249f). might have developed without direct external intervention. demographic. built extended joint families similar to those of the Serbs or Vlachs. Instead of service in the former irregularborder protection units.cultural patterns. and cultural conditions. . We have further to recall that the history of the joint family was a process.The firstway was by administration. seemingly that which produced the Balkanjoint family pattern. and even the Germans who had migrated there from central Europe.The state administrationhad not yet tried to alter the household formation and landholding patterns of the population. as well as in regions of Italy and France. To sum up. and general political circumstances.The second was the intervention of landlords. The emergence of the joint family household must be understood as a product of several factors such as the mode of production. But the basic tradition would not have altered.This would change. It was further demonstrated that large family households in eastern Europewere createdin three differentways. and the constellation of economic and political factors could change it by the spring. It seems to be clear that the tendency to build joint family households among the Croats was very weak but among the Vlachs and Bunjevci very strong.The third way. the investigation points out how the diversity and malleability of household forms within a society demonstratesthat household formation processes are interactionsof various economic. The result was that the Croats of the military border.political. Examples include regulationsin several Russian and Baltic regions. soldiers now became part of the regularHabsburgarmy.To recruit a reasonable number of soldiers it was necessary to keep the households together (Kaser 1986: 457-60). however.We have to consider that our census shows the situation only in the fall of 1712. The best example is the family history of the military border since the middle of the eighteenth century. half a century later when the military administrationdecided in 1754 to construct joint families in an administrativeway by forbidding the free fission of the households. Military service of the border population had to be adapted to new purposes. ecological adaptions.Both patterns were altered by external regulations.

Todorova suggests eliminatingthe term from historical-demographical analyses (Todorova 1990:64). The emergence of the Balkan joint family cannot exclusively or even mainly be considered as the result simply of general demographic developments.In 1991he was a visitingprofessorat the Universityof Minnesota. and this Austriancensus of 1712 show that it was primarilythe Vlachs who tended to form joint family households. a mysterious Balkanpeople. The historical perspective moves the focus of attention to the Vlachs.This article is a preliminaryresult of the BalkanFamily Project undertakenin collaboration with at Joel M. . what explanations or explanatory models can we propose? Who were the Vlachs? Were they an ethnic or a social group?What caused the emergence of this partitionaljoint family pattern and when? We need to reconstruct historicallythe Vlach past to find explanations. where the Slav and Greek population of Macedonia (according to the ChilandarChrysobull) and the Croatianpopulation (accordingto the census of 1712) showed only a weak tendency? But if we argue that the Vlachs played an important role in the history of the Balkan joint family. term and is often misleadinglyused. His main researchwork is on sociohistorical questions. Was this pattern perhaps based on the pastoral life. an existing patrilineal cultural pattern and the absence of a centralized administration? I will end with these questions. Halpernof the anthropology departmentof the Universityof Massachusetts the SoutheastEuropean Instituteat Karl-Franzens-University at Grazandfundedby the AustrianResearchFoundation.not a folk. Halpern'scommentson this paperhavebeen helpful.An independent emergence and development of the Balkan joint family household seems evident. but also with the suggestion that we redefine the problem of the Balkanjoint family.The Vlachs were pastoralists. J. The evaluation of their past could bring light into the mystery of the origin of the Balkan joint family (see Kaser forthcoming). Is there a consistent pattern in that several household listings of the fourteenth century. 1 This term is a literary. as the current state of research suggests.264 SocialScience History It seems as if the Vlachs (and Bunjevci) are the key to our problem because it is evident that it was especially they who tended to construct joint households. Notes Karl Kaser is professorof SoutheastEuropeanhistoryat the SoutheastEuropeanInstitute of the Universityof Graz-Austria.the Ottoman census of 1520.

(See.It is located in the Steiermarkisches in Graz.land propertywas not limited.it was completelynormalthat the familycycle passed through phases of nuclearity(Plakans1987:164-67).The Balkan Joint Family 265 2 Takinginto considerationan analysisof those kin relatedto the householdhead. These differencesappearto be closely relatedto the natureof externalcontrolsin types of landlord-dominated agricultural systems.Familiescould determine militaryadministration their own development. Note.1714IV-21). The Lika region is part of the so-called Krajinaor Republicof Krajinapopulated mainly by Serbs seeking independencefrom Croatia.that with the exceptionof the Austrianmilitaryborderin Croatia. Additionalparts of the census (summaries)are located in the Arhiv Hrvatskein Zagreb (SLK.thereis no clearevidence of such legal and fiscal measures. and this 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 . wheresince the second half of the eighteenthcenturyeffortsof the militaryadministrationin keepingthe joint familiestogetherareevident.The census was named Conscriptio terrenorum Lica and Corbavia beeder (descriptionof the land and the population graffschafften of both the principalitiesLika and Krbava). Landesarchiv Hofkammer. however.householdlistingsdescribingthe compositionand landholdings of more et hominum than 2.The namewas first mentioned in the sixteenth century. Their originsand the name Bunjevciare still in dispute. householdfissionwas limitedby law and strictlycontrolled. kutja4) and in the Wiener Kriegsarchiv(IOHKR/Croatica. Innerosterreichische call number1712-X-268.000 households.Until the middle of the eighteenth century the did not intervenein households.They probablywere Vlachs who in contrast to the majoritybecameabsorbedby the CatholicCroats.) On the other handthe time framebetween1689and 1712was rathershort. It is accidentalthat the material I came upon it by accident. The listing consists of approximately 2. Accordingto Hammel (1972:363) 28% of the Vlach and 17%of the other families were "strongfamilies"(consistingof "morethan two brothers"). was not destroyed.. one can observe proportionsrangingbetween 20 and 25% in the western part of eastern Europe and 67% in the microexampleof the RussianMishino region in the first half of the nineteenthcentury. An alert civil servant of the Steiermarkisches Landesarchivin Graz (the Styrian RegionalArchivesin Graz)calledmy attentionto this forgottenbox "fullof strange material".g. Pavicic1962. 254-56.000 pages. e.esp. But then at this time.This proportionof complexitywas a stable condition during all phases of the life cycle. In the case of Mishino. See the short reviewsby Hammel(1972:364) and by Todorova(1990:46)."In the case of the Russian-ruled Baltic regionsand Hungary. Czap (1982) speaks of a "lastingmultiple family household.The current war in Croatia with the Serbs is a residue of these military bordercharges imposed by an imperialstate. it was not intendedfor preservation. in order to preserveas many soldiers as possible and to provide for their families.

.(1982)"The perennialmultiplefamilyhousehold. (1982) "Amongthe people: Selected writingsof Milenko S.1814-1858.Berit (1979)Behind the Stone Walls:ChangingHouseholdOrganization among in Yugoslavia. by A. (eds.and that movingin weremost probably this would account for the fact that although the families.Peter."in RobertF Byrnes(ed. (eds. Hammel.and Patronage. (1963) "Strukturai organizacijasrednjovekovnog Milenko S. IN: University of Notre Dame Press:268-79.Mishino. given a bit more time. in Ungarn. IN: Universityof Notre Dame Press:244-51.Notre Dame. Backer. Barabas."in RichardWallet al. especiallythe Vlachs. Milenko S. and SandorBalacz-Kovacs(1986) "The social demography in attention to the and nineteenth centuries (with special garianvillages eighteenth of 11: 169-92. Journal FamilyHistory Sarpilis.266 Social Science History can workboth for and againstthis argument. the Albanians Oslo.For in the sense that the new families not huge joint familiesbut nuclearfamilies. References on European in the nineteenthcentury. were largeron the averagethan others.Family. Filipovic (ed. Naukai Umjetpoluostrvo.17821858."Journalof FamilyHistory 7: 5-26." Europe. they clearlydid not have time to develop in the course of two decades.Jovan(1922)Balkansko nosti.Sarajevo: 45120.and TamasFarago(1983)"Pre-industrial gary.Notre Dame. Belgrade:SrpskaAkademija Cvijic. Czap.Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress:281-307.) CommunalFami(1976)"Zadruga (KucnaZadruga)" lies in the Balkans:The Zadruga. Departmentof Slavic Languagesand Literatures. katuna" in Filipovi6.Universityof Michigan. Erlich. Papersin SlavicPhilology3. J.) Simpozijumo srednjovjekovnom katunu. Campbell.Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress:105-51. (1976)Honor." householdstructurein HunAndorka.Jr.Russia. (1983) "'A large family: The peasant'sgreatest wealth': Serf households in in RichardWallet al. (1976) "The last big zadrugas:Albanian extended families in the KosovoRegion.Rudolf. in RobertF Byrnes(ed.1792-1804).Russia.George(1991)"Newperspectives marriage Journalof FamilyHistory16:1-5." edited E." Alter.On the other hand.)FamilyFormsin Historic Mishino. (1972)"Die Grossfamilie New York."EthnologiaEuropaea 6:102-4.) Family Forms in Historic Europe. Filipovic. Vera St.John K. of HunAndorka. it into the very large zadrugas is possiblethat some of the other ethnic familiesmight have grown largeras well.) Communal The Familiesin the Balkans: Zadruga.Rudolf.

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