Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture
Customs in Common is the remarkable sequel to E.P. Thompson’s influential, landmark volume of social history, The Making of the English Working Class. The product of years of research and debate, Customs in Common describes the complex culture from which working class institutions emerged in England—a panoply of traditions and customs that the new working class fought to preserve well into Victorian times.
In a text marked by both empathy and erudition, Thompson investigates the gradual disappearance of a range of cultural customs against the backdrop of the great upheavals of the eighteenth century. As villagers were subjected to a legal system increasingly hostile to custom, they tried both to resist and to preserve tradition, becoming, as Thompson explains, “rebellious, but rebellious in defence of custom.” Although some historians have written of riotous peasants of England and Wales as if they were mainly a problem for magistrates and governments, for Thompson it is the rulers, landowners, and governments who were a problem for the people, whose exuberant culture preceded the formation of working-class institutions and consciousness.
Using a wide range of sources, Thompson shows how careful attention to fragmentary evidence helps to decode the fascinating symbolism of shaming rituals including “rough music,” and practices such as the ritual divorce known as “wife sale.” And in examining the vigorous presence of women in food riots from the sixteenth century onwards, he sheds further light on gender relations of the time.
Essential reading for all those intrigued by English history, Customs in Common has a special relevance today, as traditional economies are being replaced by market economies throughout the world. The rich scholarship and depth of insight in Thompson’s work offer many clues to understanding contemporary changes around the globe.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - jsburbidge - LibraryThing
This is a worthy companion to The Making of the English Working Class; it's ironic that where the latter is omnipresent as a coursebook and an entry-level work for its subject, this book is now out of ... Read full review
Time WorkDiscipline and Industrial Capitalism
The Sale of Wives
Another Summons British Library pressmark 1851 d 9 P
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action Adam Smith agrarian agricultural Assize Atherstone authority Bohstedt bread Cambridge charivari church clock colliers common rights corn cottagers Court Leet courts crowd custom customary dealers dearth Devon E. P. Thompson early effigy eighteenth century enclosure England English evidence example famine farmers flour Folklore food riots Forest forestalling forms gentry grain halter harvest hegemony historians History horse husband Ibid industrial industrial revolution John John Clare Journal labour land Le Charivari Lincolnshire London Lord magistrates manorial marketplace marriage Menefee mill millers moral economy neighbours Newcastle nineteenth century occasion offenders Oxford Oxfordshire parish paternalism paternalist peasant perhaps plebeian plebeian culture plebs poor popular purchaser relations reported riding rioters ritual rough music skimmington Smith social society sold sometimes stang suggests town trade tradition usages village Whigs wife sale William wives women