In early modern Europe, credit and debt were the two most essential features of economic exchange. Warding off temporary shortages in the cycle of agrarian economic activity constituted the primary function of credit in traditional societies. But in the early modern period, economic development, characterized by substantial growth, notably thanks to improvements emerging in a period of proto-industrialization and boosts in agricultural output, also required more capital and financial exchange for further investments, engendering growing indebtedness. Credit was therefore an essential financial tool for millions of Europeans, either to sustain their investments or to make ends meet.
The aim of this research project is to examine the paradigms of private credit and debt in early modern Europe from 1500 to 1800, with particular reference to French rural communities (more than 80% of the population), using an interdisciplinary method of analysis. As a case study, I have selected several rural areas located throughout the French kingdom (see map). There, peasants traded, exchanged, and lived in traditional communities. The sample encompasses various types of economies.
I intend to use a wide array of sources such as loans, land transactions, probate records, parish records, and court records from 1500 to 1800.Scholars have neglected cross-analysis, using different types of sources, in the study of debt and credit. Examining and cross-referencing several types of sources will offer a broad view of private credit and will highlight many different features that might not have emerged using only one type of document. I am particularly interested in change and transition observable over time.
This project is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond through a Pro Futura Scientia fellowship.
This project is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond via a Pro Futura Scientia grant.
What is Human Economy?
Human economy is an innovative interdisciplinary scientific field dedicated to the observation and analysis of people economic needs and experiences. It aims at (1) complementing and enriching the traditional field of economics by offering and promoting new ideas and innovative solutions from other disciplines, (2)voicing the experiences of people and communities, (3) and proposing concrete policy-driven solutions in which research makes a direct impact.
Human economy tackles observations and analysis to some of the most pressing issues, such as indebtedness, gender equality, poverty alleviation, sustainable development, and growing inequality; and ultimately proposes innovative ideas and solutions for a fairer economy and society.
The main idea behind human economy is to restore a dialogue between disciplines in order to come together to the best and most adapted solutions and analysis with a focus on communities’ well-being.
Humanities and social sciences research can offer alternative perspectives to traditional economics leading to a broader range of policy-driven solutions.
Human Economy is conceived broadly and the lecture series will be an incubator of innovative ideas.
This project examines the role and participation of women in private credit transactions and credit networks in Sweden and Finland from 1750 to 1850.
It will start in January 2018 and will take place at the Stockholm School of Economics.
Elise M. Dermineur (ed.), Women and Credit in Pre-Industrial Europe. Brepols, 2017.
Elise M. Dermineur, Åsa Karlsson Sjögren, Virginia Langum (ed.), Revisiting Gender in European History 1400-1800. Routledge, 2017.» Link
Queens Consort and Their Roles in Early Modern Europe: The Case of Lovisa Ulrika’s in Eighteenth Century Sweden