Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Social structure
(3,027 words)

1. Rural society

1.1. Peasants

As a rule, peasant groups had access to enough productive land to guarantee at least adequate sustenance for the majority (see Subsistence economy). In the early modern period, the body of peasants (with substantial regional differences reflected in specific terminology) was subdivided in various ways.

1) Relationship to the landowner or estate (Manorialism; Gutsherrschaft). The nature of the relationship between peasants and the landowner or estate owner represented a fundam…

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Pfister, Ulrich and Fahrmeir, Andreas, “Social structure”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 22 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_027714>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180208

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