Working Women in English Society, 1300-1620

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Using substantial new evidence to explore the diverse ways that English women participated in the market economy from 1300 to 1620, Marjorie McIntosh challenges traditional views of this "golden age" as well as more recent critiques. She argues that women's engagement in the market economy fluctuated widely under the pressures of demographic, economic, social and cultural change. Thus, although they enjoyed unprecedented opportunities following the plagues of 1348-49, these opportunities had largely eroded by the late sixteenth century.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"McIntosh has produced a book that will be of interest to specialists but that is appropriate for an undergraduate audience. Historians of women's work will benefit from McIntosh's more holistic conceptualization of women's economic activity. And generalists will benefit from a book that is clearly and accessibly written and provides a good overview of the historiography."
-Amy M. Froide, University of Maryland, American Historical Review

"McIntosh...has broken new ground by exploiting the records of the equity courts to create a more detailed, nuanced picture of her subjects' lives."
-Barbara J. Harris, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"McIntosh has considerable insight into the ways in which women's work and women's status were related or totally distinct, from one place to the next, from one generation to another, and even within the lifespan of a single woman."
-Constance H. Berman, University of Iowa, Canadian Journal of History

"This is a well-researched and well-argued book, and in many ways an excellent summary of the state of scholarship on late medieval and early modern working Englishwomen as well."
-Gayle K. Brunelle, California State University, Fullerton

"Working Women in English Society is a valuable contribution to the golden age debate... Addressing a broader range of regions and industries over a longer period than other studies, McIntosh provides a comprehensive, nuanced, and convincing analysis of the changing fortunes of medieval and early modern women's work."
-Anna Dronzek, H-Albion

"[McIntosh] has interwoven archival research with an analysis of the current and past arguments about women's work in a patriarchal society. Her thesis is clear...It is hard to image a better study of women and work than McIntosh's book."
-Barbara A. Hanawalt, Ohio State University, Journal of Medieval Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521608589
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Marjorie K. McIntosh is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her previous publications include A Community Transformed: The Manor and Liberty of Havering, 1500-1620 (1991) and Controlling Misbehavior in England, 1370-1600 (1998).
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Table of Contents

Part I. Women and Their Work: 1. Women's work in its social setting; 2. Studying working women; Part II. Providing Services: 3. Domestic and personal services; 4. Financial services and real estate; Part III. Making and Selling Goods: 5. General features of women's work as producers and sellers; 6. Drink work; 7. The food trades and innkeeping; 8. Women's participation in the skilled crafts; 9. Turning the coin: women as consumers.
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