Catalogue


The culture of giving : informal support and gift-exchange in early modern England /
Ilana Krausman Ben-Amos.
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008.
description
xi, 426 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521867231 (hardback : alk. paper), 9780521867238 (hardback : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008.
isbn
0521867231 (hardback : alk. paper)
9780521867238 (hardback : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6404675
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 390-417) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-02-01:
Ben-Amos (Ben-Gurion Univ. of the Negev) has written a model of social history blending theory with specific examples. Starting from Marcel Mauss's theory (The Gift, 1954) that gift giving involves reciprocal, enduring relations that decline in modern societies, Ben-Amos argues for their ongoing importance throughout the period 1580-1720 and beyond. Viewing "informal support" as including parent-child relationships, kinship, patronage, guilds, parishes, credit relations, and market interaction, the author provides evidence to sustain her view that such exchanges were mutual and supportive. Support networks increased after the Reformation and were revitalized by state action. While asserting the vitality of informal aid, Ben-Amos concedes problems. Gift relations were marked by inequality, and help was often contingent on return obligations that were unwanted. Gifts and mutual assistance were limited by boundaries of parish, guild, and family. Charitable gifts and endowments were marred by fraud, abuse, conflict, and even accusations of witchcraft. Showing a mastery of primary and secondary sources, Ben-Amos sustains her thesis that reciprocal relationships of mutual support remained vital and growing in England throughout the early modern era. A useful comparison with France is Natalie Davis's The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France (CH, Apr'01, 38-4671). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, faculty. J. Berlatsky Wilkes University
Reviews
Review Quotes
Review of the hardback: 'The Culture of Giving is a fascinating and wide-ranging treatment of an elusive topic: gifting, charity and networks in early modern England.' Local Population Studies
'The Culture of Giving is a fascinating and wide-ranging treatment of an elusive topic: gifting, charity and networks in early modern England.'
"The traditional historiography on charities has had a limited focus on the vicissitudes of bequests and charitable organizations, but Ilana Krausman Ben-Amos works here with a much wider lens. The Culture of Giving is concerned less with organized giving than with the social and cultural history of exchange as it is most broadly defined." Susannah Ottaway, Journal of British Studies
'Ben-Amos captures the quality of these diverse kinds of giving with great success, comprehensively surveying the existing literature about them, and charting in detail the ways in which they changed between the 1580s and 1740s ... The result is a wealth of information on subjects as different as the texture of family and business life, and the amounts available from various sources for relief of the poor.'
"Ben-Amos captures the quality of these diverse kinds of giving with great success, comprehensively surveying the existing literature about them, and charting in detail the ways in which they changed between the 1580s and 1740s... The result is a wealth of information on subjects as different as the texture of family and business life, and the amounts available from various sources for relief of the poor." - Paul Slack, Times Literary Supplement
"Ben-Amos has written a model of social history blending theory with specific examples. Highly recommended." -Choice
Review of the hardback: 'Ben-Amos captures the quality of these diverse kinds of giving with great success, comprehensively surveying the existing literature about them, and charting in detail the ways in which they changed between the 1580s and 1740s ... The result is a wealth of information on subjects as different as the texture of family and business life, and the amounts available from various sources for relief of the poor.' Paul Slack, Times Literary Supplement
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2009
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Summaries
Description for Bookstore
An innovative study of gift-giving, informal support and charity in England between the late sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries. The author examines the transformation of varied forms of informal help, arguing that the early modern era witnessed the diversification, increase and invigoration, rather than the demise, of informal support.
Main Description
An innovative study of gift-giving, informal support and charity in England between the late sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries. Ilana Krausman Ben-Amos examines the adaptation and transformation of varied forms of informal help, challenging long held views and assumptions about the decline of voluntary giving and personal obligations in the transition from medieval to modern times. Merging historical research with insights drawn from theories of gift-giving, the book analyses practices of informal support within varied social networks, associations and groups over the entire period. It argues that the processes entailed in the Reformation, state formation and the implementation of the poor laws, as well as market and urban expansion, acted as powerful catalysts for many forms of informal help. Within certain boundaries, the early modern era witnessed the diversification, increase and invigoration, rather than the demise, of gift-giving and informal support.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This innovative study of gift-giving, informal support and charity in England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries examines the adaptation and transformation of varied forms of informal help.
Table of Contents
List of illustrationsp. vii
List of tablesp. viii
Acknowledgementsp. ix
List of abbreviationsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Gift giving and reciprocityp. 5
Formal/informal, voluntary/involuntaryp. 9
Informal support and creditp. 12
Themes and structurep. 13
Social spaces and reciprocitiesp. 15
Parents and offspringp. 17
Parental investmentp. 18
Unequal exchangep. 29
Gendered obligationsp. 38
Conclusionp. 41
Networks of supportp. 45
Kinship as a support systemp. 47
Households and neighbourhoodsp. 58
Patrons and friendsp. 70
Conclusionp. 79
Parishes, guilds and associationsp. 82
Informal parochial collectionsp. 84
Guilds as providers of welfarep. 95
Mutual aid societiesp. 106
Conclusionp. 111
The charitable giftp. 113
Testamentary bequestsp. 115
Lifetime giftsp. 122
Household charitiesp. 126
Associated philanthropyp. 134
Conclusionp. 140
The economy of givingp. 143
Cultivating the obligation to givep. 145
Inheritance, gifts and the family bondp. 146
Gifts, feasts and networks of trustp. 156
Feasting and commensality in close-knit groupsp. 169
Controlling charitable giftsp. 180
Conclusionp. 192
Honour and reputationp. 195
The deference of written appealsp. 196
Gift giving as status signalsp. 205
Displays of generosityp. 214
Commemorating good deedsp. 227
Conclusionp. 240
Discourses of givingp. 242
Protestantism and the imperative to givep. 244
Civility, liberality, reciprocityp. 255
Funeral sermons, good works and giftsp. 261
Conclusionp. 272
The perils of giftsp. 275
Frustration, betrayal and the collapse of the family bondp. 276
Spirals of resentment, insult and strifep. 286
Cheating, abuse and the corruption of giftsp. 293
Shame and humiliationp. 298
Conclusionp. 304
The state, markets and giftsp. 307
Evolving boundariesp. 309
Exclusionary practices and state control of mobilityp. 310
Dearth, plague and informal supportp. 315
Labour markets and migration to townsp. 321
Conclusionp. 330
The invigoration of informal supportp. 333
State policies, gifts and networks of carep. 334
The legal system and informal supportp. 347
Markets, consumerism and giftsp. 352
Urban identities and beyondp. 366
Conclusionp. 372
Conclusionp. 376
Bibliographyp. 390
Indexp. 418
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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