Shepard, A. (2023) Care. In: MacLeod, C., Shepard, A. and Ågren, M. (eds.) The Whole Economy: Work and Gender in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 53-83. ISBN 9781009359368 (doi: 10.1017/9781009359344.004)

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Care work is both a pre-condition for economic activity and a form of economic activity in its own right. Its extent, character and distribution has varied from place to place and over time in ways which suggest it is erroneous to assume that care was either a constant, or somehow external to the economy. Indeed, rather than presuming that, historically, women’s work was determined by and shaped around the care burden, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that the organisation of care in early modern Europe was designed to enable women’s (as well as men’s) productive work. This chapter explores the variation in the extent and character of the care burden, and the complex distribution of care between familial, commercial, voluntary and state-sponsored domains. Such variation and complexity suggest that women’s—and men’s—contribution of unpaid care work was anything but constant. The burgeoning market for paid care services in early modern Europe allows assessment of the monetary value of unpaid care, and the ways in which the allocation of care was part of family strategies to maximise married women’s productive work. Care, therefore, is a necessary variable for the assessment of early modern economic performance.

Item Type:Book Sections
Additional Information:online ISBN: 9781009359344.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacLeod, Dr Catriona and Shepard, Professor Alex
Authors: Shepard, A.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Published Online:09 June 2023

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
171908Producing Change: Gender and Work in Early Modern EuropeAlexandra ShepardLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHUL)IN-2015-021Arts - History
300609Childcare, Family and Economy in Britain 1650 - 1850Alexandra ShepardLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHUL)MRF-2017-157Arts - History