Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status, and the Social Order in Early Modern England

Category: Nonfiction


Posted on 2020-04-23, by books_lover.

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Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status, and the Social Order in Early Modern England
Accounting for Oneself is a major new study of the social order in early modern England, as viewed and articulated from the bottom up. Engaging with how people from across the social spectrum placed themselves within the social order, it pieces together the language of self-description deployed by over 13,500 witnesses in English courts when answering questions designed to assess their creditworthiness. Spanning the period between 1550 and 1728, and with a broad geographical coverage, this study explores how men and women accounted for their "worth" and described what they did for a living at differing points in the life-cycle. A corrective to top-down, male-centric accounts of the social order penned by elite observers, the perspective from below testifies to an intricate hierarchy based on sophisticated forms of social reckoning that were articulated throughout the social scale. A culture of appraisal was central to the competitive processes whereby people judged their own and others
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