Family, economy and consumption in the medieval English village, c. 1300
Schofield, Phillipp (Aberystwyth University)
Patterns of Consumption and Standards of Living in the Medieval Rural World, September 18-20, Universitat de València (2008)
One of the features of the recent historiography of the medieval English economy has been the emphasis upon its commercialisation, the role of the market and the degree to which even lowly individuals were drawn into economic activity which moved beyond the family. In that sense the family, once a mainstay of discussion of the medieval English peasantry, has retreated a little from our view, at least relative to the strong presence in our writing of commercial and economic dealing, as undertaken by a fairly confident, economically and quasi-politically integratedpeasantry.
That said, to put it another way, discussion of the family has moved from a consideration of the family as a discrete unit of production and consumption to one in which the family and its members are perceived as integral to wider economies, be that, for instance, in the degree to which individuals and families engage as producers for a wider economy, or as consumers of resources not solely of their own creation.