This project examines the role and participation of women in private credit transactions and credit networks in Sweden and Finland from 1750 to 1850.
Through the study of probate inventories and by applying a social network analysis method to the data collected, it is possible to track these informal credit exchanges and uncover women’s role and position in such networks. Women’s roles, strategies and involvement both as debtors and creditors will be examined. Changes and transitions observable over time will be paid special attention, with reference to female transactions and their impact on the social and economic fabric of the community.Probate inventories are especially relevant when it comes to examining private credit networks. Upon an individual’s death, his or her standing credit was assessed, through listing his creditors and debtors’ names and credit/debt standing. In order to collect and analyze the probate inventories necessary for the purpose of this study, a team of four researchers will be involved in this two-year project.
We still critically lack data regarding the extent of women’s participation in credit networks, its importance for their household, and its impact for their community. Studying probate inventories will give us a wonderful entry to their world.