The Early Modern City, 1450-1750

By Christopher R. Friedrichs | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
Family and Household

For countless men and women in the early modern city, work not only provided some measure of economic security, but also helped to define their place in the system of social relations. Yet in the struggle to survive and prosper, family relations were equally important. It is the family, after all, that sustains a child before he or she can begin to work -- and in many cases for long after that. And even more so than today, in early modern times the family was a major determinant of what kind of work people did and what social status they were perceived to possess.

But what exactly was the family in early modern Europe? Who belonged to it? How did its members interact? And what was the relationship between the family and that other great institution of social and economic life, the household? These questions have deeply perplexed modern historians. We are a long way from any final answers -- but the general outlines are clear.1


I

In a society in which so much productive work was done in the household, the relationship between work roles and family roles was often very close. The master craftsman, for example, was simultaneously the head of a productive enterprise and of a family unit. Many historians have emphasized the central role of the household in early modern life, seeing its head as a powerful master and father whose authority extended with equal rigour over all its

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1
For some fundamental introductions to the subject, see Flandrin, Families in Former Times, and Stone, Family, Sex and Marriage.

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The Early Modern City, 1450-1750
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures and Tables vi
  • Editor's Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • A Note to the Reader x
  • Introduction A Way of Living 1
  • PART ONE The City in Context 17
  • Chapter One - Boundaries and Buildings 19
  • Chapter Two - City and State 43
  • Chapter Three - City and Church 61
  • Chapter Four - Production and Exchange 90
  • Chapter Five - Life and Death 114
  • PART TWO The City as a Social Arena 137
  • Chapter Six - Work and Status 139
  • Chapter Sevenfamily and Household 166
  • Chapter Eight Power and Pride 182
  • Chapter Nine Poverty and Marginality 214
  • PART THREE The City in Calm and Crisis 243
  • Chapter Ten Urban Routine 245
  • Chapter Eleven Urban Crisis 275
  • Chapter Twelve Urban Conflict 303
  • Conclusion A Way of Looking 327
  • Suggestions for Further Reading Bibliography of Works Cited Map Index 335
  • Bibliography of Works Cited 347
  • Map 371
  • Index 375
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