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    Neighbours and strangers: the locality in later Stuart economic culture

    Waddell, Brodie (2010) Neighbours and strangers: the locality in later Stuart economic culture. In: Williamson, F. (ed.) Locating Agency: Space, Power and Popular Politics. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 103-132. ISBN 9781443814485.

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    Belonging to a local community was a vital part of ‘making-shift’ in later Stuart England. To be a ‘neighbour’ or ‘inhabitant’, rather than a ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’, had a profound effect on one’s economic situation. For instance, gaining ‘settlement’ in a parish or becoming a ‘freeman’ in a town brought with it a range of important rights and privileges, whereas being branded as a ‘vagrant’ or ‘intruder’ could have dire consequences. The culture, institutions and practices of localism shaped the English economy in ways that are often impossible to measure but equally impossible to ignore. The chapter begins with an exploration of the many ways in which loyalty to the locality – as well as the vilification of outsiders – was disseminated through popular media, especially the sermons, ballads, oaths, festivals and rituals that communicated these messages to people in every corner of England. The second part of this chapter focuses on more concrete manifestations of local community, including formal institutions and habitual practices. While showing the extensive variety of material support available to insiders, it also shows how outsiders were systematically disadvantaged and sometimes excluded entirely from local economic life. The third part is an analysis of the violent collective responses that sometimes erupted when external agents threatened the economic welfare of a community. This shows how bloody riots could be sparked by the very same set of assumptions that inspired informal charity and parochial processions. Finally, the chapter concludes with a brief review of the effects of locality on popular agency and a survey of the basic contours of change over the period. It emphasises the diversity of stories that can be told about the influence of local community in later Stuart England, noting that while the effects of localism on economic relations cannot be ignored, neither can they be reduced to a straightforward narrative of rise, decline or continuity. This chapter thus reveals the profound impact of this type of community but also its undeniable variability and complexity.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Brodie Waddell
    Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2021 06:25
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:06


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