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Social Order:Structure, Perceptions and Change

For Discussion:

1. Why was there so much contemporary interest in the social structure of England in the period 1550-1700?

2. Is the concept of class of any relevance to discussion of the social order of Tudor and Stuart England?

3. Are there any satisfactory means of measuring social mobility in this period?

4. Does the absence of women in the social hierarchies constructed by writers from William Harrison to Gregory King imply that they enjoyed no variations in their status?

Introductory Surveys:
 

Wrightson, K.E. English Society, 1580-1680 (London, 1982), pp.17-38.

Wrightson, K.E. Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain (New Haven, 2000), pp.182-201.

Detailed Studies:

Laslett, Peter. The World We Have Lost (1965, rev. ed., London, 1983), ch.2.

Stone, Lawrence. ‘Social Mobility in England, 1500-1700’, Past & Present 33 (1966), 16-55.

Cressy, David. ‘Describing the Social Order of Elizabethan and Stuart England’, Literature & History 3 (1976), 29-44.

Thompson, E.P. ‘Eighteenth-Century English Society: Class Struggle Without Class?’, Social History 3 (1978), 133-65, reprinted as ‘The Patricians and the Plebs’, in Thompson, Customs in Common (London, 1991), pp.16-96.

Neale, R.S. Class in English History, 1680-1850 (Oxford, 1981), ch.3.

Stone, Lawrence. An Open Elite? England 1540-1880 (London, 1984).

Beckett, J.V. The Aristocracy in England, 1660-1914 (Oxford, 1986).

Wrightson, Keith. ‘The Social Order of Early Modern England: Three Approaches’, in Lloyd Bonfield, R.M. Smith & K.E. Wrightson (eds.), The World We Have Gained: Histories of Population and Social Structure (Oxford, 1986), pp.177-202.

Wrightson, Keith. ‘Estates, Degrees and Sorts in Tudor and Stuart England’, History Today (January 1987), 17-22, expanded as ‘Estates, Degrees and Sorts: Changing Perceptions of Society in Tudor and Stuart England’, in Penelope J. Corfield (ed.), Language, History and Class (Oxford, 1991), pp.30-52.

Prest, Wilfrid (ed.). The Professions in Early Modern England (London, 1987).

Amussen, S.D. An Ordered Society: Gender and Class in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1988).

Hassell-Smith, A. ‘Labourers in Late Sixteenth-Century England: A Case Study from North Norfolk [Part I], Continuity & Change 4:1 (1989), 11-52.

Hassell-Smith, A. ‘Labourers in Late Sixteenth-Century England: A Case Study from North Norfolk [Part II], Continuity & Change 4:3 (1989), 367-94.

Spufford, Margaret. ‘The Limitations of the Probate Inventory’, in John Chartres & David Hey (eds), English Rural Society, 1500-1800 (Cambridge, 1990), pp.139-74.

Penelope J. Corfield, ‘Class By Name and Number in Eighteenth-Century England’, History 72 (1987), 38-61, reprinted in Penelope J. Corfield (ed.), Language, History and Class (Oxford, 1991), pp.101-30.

Wahrman, Dror. ‘National Society, Communal Culture: An Argument About the Recent Historiography of Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Social History 17:1 (January 1992), 43-72.

Burke, Peter. ‘The Language of Orders in Early Modern Europe’, in M.L. Bush (ed.), Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe Since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification (London, 1992), pp.1-13.

Seed, John. ‘From “Middling Sort” to Middle Class in Late Eighteenth- and Early Ninteenth Century England’, in M.L. Bush (ed.), Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe Since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification (London, 1992), pp.114-35.

Erickson, Amy. Women and Property in Early Modern England (London, 1993).

Heal, Felicity & Holmes, Clive. The Gentry in England and Wales, 1500-1700 (London, 1994).

Smail, John. The Origins of Middle Class Culture: Halifax, Yorkshire, 1660-1780 (Cornell, 1994), chs.1, 2, 7 & 8.

Barry, Jonathan. ‘Introduction’, in Jonathan Barry & Christopher Brooks (eds), The Middling Sort of People: Culture, Society and Politics in England, 1550-1800 (London, 1994), pp.1-27.

Barry, Jonathan. ‘Review Article: The Making of the Middle Class’, Past & Present 145 (November 1994), 194-208.

Wrightson, K.E. ‘“Sorts of People” in Tudor and Stuart England’, in The Middling Sort of People: Culture, Society and Politics in England, 1550-1800 (London, 1994), pp.28-51.

Hunt, Margaret R. The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England, 1680-1780 (Berkeley, 1996).

Walter, John. Understanding Popular Violence in the English Revolution: The Colchester Plunderers (Cambridge, 1999), ch.7, esp. pp.260-84.

Wood, Andy. The Politics of Social Conflict: The Peak Country, 1520-1770 (Cambridge, 1999)

French, H.R. ‘Social Status, Localism and the “Middle Sort of People” in England, 1620-1750’, Past and Present 166 (February 2000), 66-99.

Braddick, Michael, & Walter, John. ‘Introduction: Grids of Power: Order, Hierarchy and Subordination in Early Modern Society’, in Michael Braddick

and John Walter (eds), Negotiating Power in Early Modern Society: Order, Hierarchy and Subordination in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, 2001), pp.1-42.

Rollison, David. ‘Discourse and Class Struggle: The Politics of Industry in Early Modern England’, Social History 26:2 (May 2001), 166-89.

Shepard, Alexandra. ‘Honesty, Worth and Gender in Early Modern England’, in Henry French and Jonathan Barry (eds), Identity and Agency in England, 1500-1800 (London, 2004), pp.87-105.

Muldrew, Craig. ‘Class and Credit: Social Identity, Wealth and the Life Course in Early Modern England’, in Henry French and Jonathan Barry (eds), Identity and Agency in England, 1500-1800 (London, 2004), pp.147-78.

Rollison, David, ‘Marxism’, in Garthine Walker (ed.), Writing Early Modern History (London, 2005), pp.3-24.

Wood, Andy. ‘Fear, Hatred and the Hidden Injuries of Class in Early Modern England’, Journal of Social History 39:3 (Spring 2006), 803-826

French, H.R. The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England, 1600-1750 (Oxford, 2007).

Presentations:

1. The Language of Sorts: Wrightson (1986, 1987/91, 1994, 2000); French (2000/2007).

2. The Language of Class: Walter (1999); Wood (1999/2006); Rollison (2001/2005).