Introduction: poverty in early modern history

Hitchcock, D. and McClure, J. (2020) Introduction: poverty in early modern history. In: Hitchcock, D. and McClure, J. (eds.) Routledge History of Poverty, c. 1450-1800. Series: Routledge histories. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY, xvi-xxvii. ISBN 9781138555006 (doi:10.4324/9781315149271-111)

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This chapter examines the history of poverty during the early modern period and, in doing so, only deepens understandings of poverty but also offers critical reflections on the changes taking place between approximately 1450 and 1800. It interrogates the traditional 'confessional division' of relief in Protestant and Catholic states by deploying a range of evidence that cuts across both state archives and religious lines. Far from being timeless universals, the concept of poverty and the composition of ‘the poor’ are continuously made and remade by every society. In the nineteenth century Karl Marx provided perhaps the most enduring and influential theory of historical change. Histories of poverty and theories of historical transformation are clearly and inextricably linked, but the prevailing interpretation of these links continuously changes. While poverty in the Middle Ages was seen as a sacred condition, in the sixteenth century it was increasingly viewed as a social problem.

Item Type:Book Sections (Introduction)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McClure, Dr Julia
Authors: Hitchcock, D., and McClure, J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Published Online:31 December 2020

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