Life of European Peasants in Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

... In general, the further East one got, the slower new techniques were to spread. Thus there were supply-side reasons for grain exports from preemancipation eastern Europe to stagnate at a level far below what was ecologically possible" (Pomeranz 258). While there were distinct differences involved in these regions, there were some commonalities as well.

According to Dean, Hann, Overton and Whittle (2004), there remains a paucity of studies concerning the role of women and early economic history based on a misperception that women either did not have a role in the wider economy or that women were affected by economic and social change in the same way as men. An early study that challenged these assumptions conducted of women's work in the seventeenth century divided production into three co-existing types:

Domestic industry." This type of work was done exclusively for the use of the family;

Family industry." This type of work was done out at home as well, but with the goal of selling or exchanging goods;

Capitalist industry." This type of work was done in exchange for a wage payment (Dean, Hann, Overton & Whittle 4).

The respective work roles performed by men and women, as well as of unmarried and married women, varied considerably depending on the type of production involved; however, these authors note that all peasants were particularly affected by the transformation to capitalist industry, which took the work out of the family home (Dean et al. 4). Furthermore, while the transformation from the 15th century subsistence economy was clearly underway during this period in European history, both types of economies were still found and managed to co-exist just as the domestic, family and capitalist industries frequently co-existed. In addition, by the seventeenth century, the higher incidence of adoption of new material goods in urban places combined with the intense close proximity of people in urban regions encouraged many European peasants "to turn inwards and make their living spaces as pleasant as possible as a compensation for the inconveniences of town life" (Dean et al. 167). Along these lines, according to Super (2002), there was also a transition taking place throughout Europe - and particularly France - during the seventeenth century that represented a change in diet based on dietetics and nutritional needs alone to one that also considered taste and preparation importance components of eating.

Conclusion

The research showed that life for European peasants in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries was characterized by hard work and a short life. While these things were beginning to change somewhat for peasants, there would a series of revolutions and social upheavals required before things would change in any substantive way. Furthermore, the term "European peasants" makes generalizations required because western Europe is a social, economic, and political construct rather than actual geographic entity. According to Pomeranz (2000), Ireland, southern Italy, and most of Iberia, for example, did not experience much of the economic development during these centuries that was characteristically European or western European. In the final analysis, the transition from the feudalism and a subsistence economy that existed in the fifteenth century was fueled by economic considerations and realities rather than by virtue of any mere humanitarian reasons.

Works Cited

Dean, Darron, Andrew Hann, Mark Overton and Jane Whittle. Production and Consumption in English Households, 1600-1750. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Kheng, Cheah Boon. (1994). "Feudalism in Pre-Colonial Malaya: The Past as a Colonial Discourse." Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 25(2), 243.

Pomeranz, Kenneth. The Great Divergence: Europe, China, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Super, John C. (2002). "Review Essay: Food and History." Journal of Social History, 36(1),…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Dean, Darron, Andrew Hann, Mark Overton and Jane Whittle. Production and Consumption in English Households, 1600-1750. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Kheng, Cheah Boon. (1994). "Feudalism in Pre-Colonial Malaya: The Past as a Colonial Discourse." Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 25(2), 243.

Pomeranz, Kenneth. The Great Divergence: Europe, China, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Super, John C. (2002). "Review Essay: Food and History." Journal of Social History, 36(1), 165.

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