Kind aan huis Gender, huiselijkheid en zelfperceptie in de persoonlijke correspondentie van de kinderen Bethune in vroegnegentiende-eeuws Belgiƫ



In the past two decades the historiography of the child has paid increasing attention to
the voices and experiences of children in the past, gradually letting go of the so-called
'adult gaze' and learning to study children as historical actors in their own right. Building
upon these insights, this article will assess the influence of adult bourgeois norms on the
world and self-perception of children in nineteenth-century Belgium from a strict children's
point of view. lt will contribute to our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying
children's socialization in the past, arguing that rather than being the passive recipients
of adult norrns, children actively internalized the ideas and ideals with which they were
brought up. More concretely, the article will take the form of a casestudy and investigate
how the influential ideal of domesticity that emerged in the late eighteenth-century
shaped the developing gender identity of two teenagers living in early nineteenth-century
Belgium. Hence, it will contribute to the budding historiography of family and child in
the regions of present-day Belgium.