Rural History 2015

Panel 27

Organizers: Miettinen, Riikka Emilia (1); Viitaniemi, Ella Mari (1)

Affiliation: 1: University of Tampere, Finland

Title: Survival strategies in the early modern European countryside

The study of peasant strategies and struggle to survive in the crossroads of natural conditions and demands of the ruling elites is an integral part of rural history. In most parts of early modern Europe, as in developing countries today, livelihood of the majority of the population was based on agriculture and thus highly insecure and vulnerable to seasonal and weather fluctuations. Moreover, warfare, taxation and decisions of the authorities had direct and indirect repercussions on the lives of the rural population. Risks, possibilities and strategies varied also based on individual life and family cycles, such as disease, disability or widowhood. It must also be emphasized that the rural peasantry was a heterogeneous group characterized by cooperation, conflicts and disparity in wealth and interests. The panel brings together scholars who present new research on the survival strategies of the rural peasantry and common people between the demands of the Crown and Church and the necessities of everyday and future survival in early modern rural Europe. The topic of ‘survival strategies’ is approached from a variety of perspectives and understood broadly not only as the activities aimed at subsistence and physical survival but also as the solutions and ways of coping within the structures and with the obligations imposed by the state. In particular, the contributions address the following questions: how did individuals and households residing in rural settings support themselves in different situations and overcome the increasing burdens of the evolving early modern states?



Chair: Sami Suodenjoki, University of Tampere, Finland

Paper 1: Survival of the disabled in the early modern Swedish and Finnish countryside

Riikka Miettinen, University of Tampere, Finland

Paper 2: The burden of stone church building and subsistence of the peasantry in late 18th-century Finland

Ella Viitaniemi, University of Tampere, Finland


Suggested deadline for sending completed papers 31 july 2015

© 2014 Rural History 2015