Journals Higher Education



Published: 28 August 2003

416 Pages | 58 tables & figures

ISBN: 9780198205548

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Bookseller Code (06)

A Bitter Living

Women, Markets, and Social Capital in Early Modern Germany

Sheilagh Ogilvie

What role did women play in the pre-industrial European economy? Sheilagh Ogilvie tackles this question in an original way, using a rich body of new evidence. By examining women's contribution to a particular pre-industrial economy - the German state of Württemberg - Ogilvie casts doubt on most of the extensive literature about pre-industrial women's work. She also refutes the theory of 'social capital' which claims that traditional networks, like guilds with their shared norms, benefited everyone. She shows how network insiders benefited at the expense of outsiders, especially women. The result was a 'bitter living' - not only for women, but for everyone.