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On their own terms: peasant households' response to capitalist development

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Although the social and economic structure of peasant households exhibited much continuity before and after the rise of capitalism, those households were not rigid or inflexible in the face of economic change. A study of peasants in a Dutch region shows that households, motivated and bound by both cultural and economic factors, made careful choices in how to react to capitalist pressures. By responding actively and deliberately, peasants were able to exert significant control over their lives and their future and did not become mere victims of capitalist development. Indeed, instead they actually helped shape the local economy.
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Keywords: Netherlands; agriculture; by-employment; family; household; linen; manufacturing; peasants; proto-industry; textiles; weavers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of History, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA. Email:j.mastboom@csuohio.edu

Publication date: 2000-03-01

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