Artisans played a central role in the European town as it developed from the Middles Ages onwards. Their workshops were at the heart of productive activity, their guilds were often central to the political and legal order of towns, and their culture helped shape civic ritual and the urban order. These essays, which have all been specially written for this collection, explore the relationships between artisans and their towns across Europe between the beginning of the early-modern period and the end of the 19th century. They pay special attention to the processes of economic, juridicial and political change that have made the 18th and early 19th centuries a period of such significance. Written by leading historians of European artisans, the essays question the myths about artisans that have long pervaded research in the field. The leading myth was that shared by the artisans themselves - the myth of decline and the belief in each generation that artisans in the past had inhabited a better age. These essays open up for debate the nature of artisanship, the way economic change affected craft production, the political role of artisans, the cultural identification of the artisans with work and masculinity, and the way changing urban society and changing urban structure posed threats to which the artisans had to respond.
'This book represents a significant contribution to our knowledge of European artisans in a variety of urban environments. Its contributors explore the myths and representations of the artisan that still inform the literature of production and modernization. Eleven well-researched essays cover 400 years and are woven together in an excellent opening chapter by editor Geoffrey Crossick…The strengths of this volume are many.' American Historical Review '…a collection definitely worth recommending…' English Historical Review 'Thanks to Geoffrey Crossick, the European artisan has become a familiar historical figure. Gone are the broad brush strokes, the stereotyping, the image of the disgruntled who fed the forces of fascism. In its place is a highly nuanced understanding of what it meant to be an artisan in particular places and at particular times….Building on the work of Crossick himself…the current contributors tackle their subjects with enthusiasm and confidence…It is impossible in a review of this length to do justice to all the papers in this collection…This is a collection of essays which truly illuminates its subject.' Labour History Review '…a valuable collection of new research in the ever-fascinating and yet elusive world of the artisanal past.' Urban History Review 'An accomplished labor historian and veteran editor, Crossick excels himself here, selecting focused case studies of urban artisan life that employ new sources in innovative ways…Contributors have been encouraged to explore the wider consequences of local findings. The motif here (and telltale sign of a Crossick collection) is the crisp summary of prodigious quantities of research.' Journal of Modern History
Contents: Past masters: in search of the artisan in European history, Geoffrey Crossick; Artisans and urban politics in 17th-century Germany, Christopher R. Friedrichs; Cultural analysis and early-modern artisans, James R. Farr; ’Broken all in pieces’: artisans and the regulation of workmanship in early-modern London, Michael Berlin ; The aristocratic hÃ´tel and its artisans in 18th-century Paris: the market ruled by court society, Natacha Coquery; Craftsmen and revolution in Bordeaux, Josette Pontet; Craftsmen in the political and symbolic order: the case of 18th-century MalmÃ¶, Lars Edgren; Women and the craft guilds in 18th-century Nantes, Elizabeth Musgrave; Worlds of mobility: migration patterns of Viennese artisans in the 18th-century, Josef Ehmer; Artisans in Hungarian towns on the eve of industrialization, Vera BÃ¡cskai; Urban renovation and changes in artisans’ activities: the Parisian Fabrique in the Arts et Métiers quarter during the Second Empire, Florence Bourillon; Artisans and the labour markert in Dutch provincial capitals around 1900, Pim Kooij; Index.