Correlation between Sexual Attitudes, Kinship, and Politics in an Alpine Valley in the Nineteenth Century
My contribution starts with the fascinating story of the Italian counterfeiter and smuggler Joseph-Samuel Farinet, who appears in the Swiss canton of Valais in 1869. During his stays in Bagnes, a mountain valley in Western Valais, Farinet was evidently supported by the local inhabitants, and especially by women, who gave him shelter, sustained him in various ways and probably often had sexual intercourse with him. If we study the social milieu the counterfeiter was in contact with, we see that many of the women and men he frequented were issued from families with particular sexual behavior: from families in which we can detect numerous illegitimate children or many prenuptial conceptions. And a majority of these 'families', or kin-groups, belonged to the radical faction, which increasingly influenced the local politics since the 1830's. From this point of view, Farinet's story is a key to study an interesting correlation between sexual attitudes and politics, a relation neglected in the past in historical studies. From the point of view of the history of sexuality, individual sexual behavior can not longer be considered as a dependent variable, rigidly shaped by physical environment, by economy or other macro-historical factors. Individual agency, individual choices and ideas have to be carefully taken into account.
Belin, Annales de démographie historique 2010/1 (n° 119) «In and Out of the Family»
Familie – Elternschaft – Verwandtschaft