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The short and the tall: comparing stature and socioeconomic status for male prison and military populations

Inwood, K, Kippen, R, Maxwell-Stewart, H ORCID: 0000-0001-7336-0953 and Steckel, R 2020 , 'The short and the tall: comparing stature and socioeconomic status for male prison and military populations' , Social Science History, vol. 44, no. 3 , pp. 463-483 , doi: 10.1017/ssh.2020.14.

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Over the last four decades, historians and social scientists have become increasinglyinterested in the way in which information about stature might be used to explorethe impact of environmental factors on the physical growth and well-being ofpast populations. A particular problem encountered by many researchers is that heightdata is only available for selected populations, typically military recruits or thoseadmitted to correctional institutions. Evidence from Australian military and prisonrecords demonstrate how the two social groups, soldiers and prisoners, differed fromeach other and from the wider population in terms of age, birthplace, occupation, andstature. Different patterns of observable characteristics conceal additional differencesin intergenerational experience. We trace male prisoners and soldiers born between1870 and 1899 in Tasmania to their birth records and thence to the marriages of theirparents. This allows us to contrast social and occupational change from father to sonfor both prisoners and soldiers. We conclude that evidence arising from these institutionalized populations can be used to estimate wider societal trends, although caution needs to be exercised.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Inwood, K and Kippen, R and Maxwell-Stewart, H and Steckel, R
Journal or Publication Title: Social Science History
Publisher: Duke Univ Press
ISSN: 0145-5532
DOI / ID Number: 10.1017/ssh.2020.14
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 the authors

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