Download The Work of France: Labor and Culture in Early Modern Times, by James R. Farr PDF

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By James R. Farr

This sincerely written and deeply trained booklet explores the character and that means of labor in early glossy France. uncommon historian James R. Farr considers the connection among fabric life—specifically the paintings actions of either males and women—and the tradition within which those actions have been embedded. This tradition, he argues, contributed to shaping the character of labor, invested it with that means, and shaped the identities of individuals around the social spectrum.

Farr vividly strains the day-by-day lives of peasants, universal workers, family servants, prostitutes, highway owners, craftsmen and -women, retailers, males of the legislations, scientific practitioners, and govt officers. paintings was once famous and valued as a way to generate profits, however it held a better value as a cultural marker of honor, identification, and standing. Constants and continuities in paintings actions and their cultural points shared house with adjustments that have been so profound and sweeping that France will be perpetually remodeled. the writer makes a speciality of 3 salient, interconnected, and now and then conflicting advancements: the extension and integration of the marketplace financial system, the expansion of the state's services and governing gear, and the intensification of social hierarchy.

Presenting a unified and compelling argument in regards to the position of work in society, Farr addresses a fancy set of questions and succeeds masterfully at answering them. With its trendy writing and transparent subject matters, this publication will discover a vast viewers between scholars and students of early sleek Europe, French heritage, economics, gender reviews, anthropology, and exertions studies.

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Extra resources for The Work of France: Labor and Culture in Early Modern Times, 1350-1800 (Critical Issues in World and International History)

Example text

But demographics are only part of the story. Perhaps the most important agent of change was the market, and over the early modern centuries we can see its increasing if uneven penetration into peasant lives. As urban demand accelerated, market forces were exerted on the countryside, and peasants responded in a variety of ways, none of which suggest that they were hidebound 26 Chapter One traditionalists averse to change. Indeed, one fundamental characteristic of the peasant was his adaptation to shifting demand through specialization—from growing grapes to weaving cloth to engaging in commerce.

They formed lasting local dynasties, and dominated the village community, monopolizing its posts. At the other end of the social scale were more and more men and women dependent on these wealthy families for their livelihood—as hired workers, or debtors. As long as economic conditions were good, everyone could benefit (or at least avoid famine), but if conditions deteriorated, the ranks of the lower orders could only swell. Agricultural growth, then, spelled significant change in the world of the peasant.

It might mean giving up cereal production for a more intense cultivation of orchards or grapes (and vineyards spread relentlessly throughout the kingdom during the early modern period, especially near towns and cities). Or it might entail more assiduous attention to clearing away weeds and brush from fields, or creating better and more extensive drainage. It might entail a novel use of an implement, like a scythe. This heavy tool had long been used to cut grass, but with demand from urban markets on the rise it was increasingly used to harvest grain.

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