Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification

Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification

Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification

Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification

Synopsis

This pioneering survey evaluates the notions of class and order throughout European history since 1500. After a general theoretical section on the concept of orders and class, the book provides discussions and case studies of the nobility, the clergy, the middle classes and the rural and urban proletariat. The studies are drawn from all over Europe, from early modern Castile to late Tsarist Russia. Contributors include Peter Burke, Stuart Woolf, A A Thompson and Joseph Bergin.

Excerpt

The origins of this book lie in a conference held in Manchester 19-21 September 1988, and organised by the History Department of Manchester University. The purpose of the conference was to take another look at the concepts of order and class and to reconsider their usefulness for stratifying societies and explaining social relationships in early and late modern Europe. Through the medium of such a subject, it was intended to bring together specialists of different periods and countries so that they could participate in the same discussion; and this is what happened. It was left to the speakers to decide how to approach their subject. The outcome was a variety of studies, some comparative, some focused upon a single society. However, because of the way in which the conference was structured, the majority of speakers were obliged to concentrate upon one basic social group: nobility, clergy, the middle classes, the peasantry, the proletariat, the poor. To avoid creating a book which was merely a compilation of conference papers, the speakers were given a year in which to transform their talks into properly referenced, carefully expressed and interrelated chapters.

Thanks are due not only to the conference speakers but also to the following conference participants whose comments on the papers bore influence as the latter came to be reworked into the contents of this book: J.V. Beckett, John Breuilly, Andrew Charlesworth, John Garrard, Peter Gatrell, Sharon Gewirtz, Ralph Gibson, Robbie Gray, Don Hartley, Joanna Innes, Pat Johnson, R. Keys, A.J. Kidd, Keith McClelland, Peter McMylor, D. Nichols, Frank O'Gorman, J.P. Osmond, Vivienne Parrott, Margaret Pelling, Maureen Perrie, Colin Phillips, Iori Prothero, Brian Pullan, David Rheubottom, Patrick Riley, Michael Rose, Valerie Saunders, Timothy Scott, Virginia Smith, David Sturdy, P. Summerfield, Amanda Vickery, James Vernon, Richard Wall, John Walter and Roger Wells.

M. L. Bush

Manchester, June 1990 . . .

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