Marriage today is our prime social and legal institution. Historically, it was also the principal economic institution. This collection of essays offers a wealth of original research into the economic, social and legal history of the marital partnership in northern Europe over a 500-year period. Erickson's introduction explores the concept of the marital economy and sketches the legal and economic background across the region. Chapters by Ã…gren, Gudrun Andersson, Agnes ArnÃ³rsdÃ³ttir, Inger DÃ¼beck, Elizabeth Ewan, Rosemarie Fiebranz, Catherine Frances, Hanne Johansen, Ann-Catrin Ã–stman, Anu PylkkÃ¤nen, Hilde Sandvik and Jane Whittle, are organized according to the three economic stages of the marital life-cycle: forming the partnership; managing the partnership; and dissolving the partnership. In conclusion, Michael Roberts explores how the historical development of modern economic theory has removed marriage from its central position at the heart of the economy.
'… a fascinating exercise in comparative history that makes a powerful argument for the vital importance of the marital economy to the history of Europe. It challenges assumptions about the distinctiveness of individual nations and will change the way historians and economists view the marriage partnership.' Tim Stretton, Associate Professor of History, Saint Mary's University, Nova Scotia 'The research is original and represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the economic, social and legal history of marital partnerships in northern Europe.' Parergon
Contents: Introduction: the marital economy in comparative perspective, Amy Louise Erickson. Part I Forming the Partnership: Marriage or money? Legal actions for enforcement of marriage contracts in Norway, Hanne Marie Johansen; Making marriages in early modern England: rethinking the role of family and friends, Catherine Frances; Forming the partnership socially and economically: a Swedish local elite, 1650-1770, Gudrun Andersson; Forming the marital economy in the early modern Finnish countryside, Anu PylkkÃ¤nen; Servants in rural England c.1450-1650: hired work as a means of accumulating wealth and skills before marriage, Jane Whittle. Part II Managing the Partnership: Decision-making on marital property in Norway, 1500-1800, Hilde Sandvik; Property and authority in Danish marital law, Inger DÃ¼beck; Marital conflict over the gender division of labour in agrarian households, Sweden 1750-1850, Rosemarie Fiebranz; Working together? Different understandings of marital relations in late 19th-century Finland, Ann-Catrin Ã–stman. Part III Dissolving the Partnership: Marriage trouble, separation and divorce in early modern Norway, Hanne Marie Johansen; 'To the longer liver': provisions for the dissolution of the marital economy in Scotland, 1470-1550, Elizabeth Ewan; Death and donation: different channels of property transfer in late medieval Iceland, Agnes S. ArnÃ³rsdÃ³ttir; Individualism or self-sacrifice? Decision-making and retirement within the early modern marital economy in Sweden, Maria Ã…gren. Afterword: Recovering a lost inheritance: the marital economy and its absence from the prehistory of economics in Britain, Michael Roberts. Bibliography; Glossary; Index.