Publication – Eline Van Onacker, « Village Elites and Social Structures in the Late Medieval Campine Region »

The economy of the late medieval Low Countries is often portrayed in terms of dynamism and economic growth. However, several regions within this larger entity followed an alternate path of development. One example of this is the Campine (Kempen), a communal peasant region situated to the northeast of the sixteenth-century ‘metropolis’ of Antwerp. By contrast with other regions in the Low Countries, this area was characterised by a remarkable stability.


By focusing on ‘independent’ peasant elites, this study explores the social structures and the characteristics of inequality of this region, showing how these factors led to a different, more stable mode of economic development. Looking past standard societal measurements such as property distribution, this work combines a wide variety of sources to grasp the nuances of inequality in a communal society. It therefore takes into account other economic factors such as control over the commons, and market integration. It also focuses on political and social inequality, shedding light on aspects of inequality in village politics, social life, and poor relief.

Thus, in contrast to dominant depictions of pre-modern societies on the road to capitalism, this book provides a comprehensive portrayal of inequality and elite groups in a communal peasant society.

Table des matières :


Chapter 1. Manorial and Stately Power and (In)Equality
Chapter 2. Social and Fiscal Inequality in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Campine Area
Chapter 3. Controlling the Campine Commons
Chapter 4. Campine Peasants and Market Integration: Activities in the Pre-Modern Commodity and Factor Markets
Chapter 5. Campine Tenant Farmers and the Village Community
Chapter 6. Village Government and Officeholding in the Campine Area
Chapter 7. Social Cohesion and the Village Community: A Focus on Church Life and Poor Relief



Informations pratiques :

Eline Van Onacker, Village Elites and Social Structures in the Late Medieval Campine Region, Turnhout, Brepols, 2017 (The Medieval Countryside, 17). XLI+319 p., 7 b/w ill. + 4 Maps, 57 Graphs, 68 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm. ISBN: 978-2-503-55459-4. Prix : 100 euros.

Source : Brepols

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