Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture
The “meticulously researched, elegantly argued and deeply humane” sequel to the landmark volume of social history, The Making of the English Working Class (The New York Times Book Review).
This remarkable study investigates the gradual disappearance of a range of cultural customs against the backdrop of the great upheavals of the eighteenth century. As villagers were subjected to a legal system increasingly hostile to custom, they tried both to resist and to preserve tradition, becoming, as E. P. Thompson explains, “rebellious, but rebellious in defense of custom.” Although some historians have written of riotous peasants of England and Wales as if they were mainly a problem for magistrates and governments, for Thompson it is the rulers, landowners, and governments who were a problem for the people, whose exuberant culture preceded the formation of working-class institutions and consciousness.
Essential reading for all those intrigued by English history, Customs in Common has a special relevance today, as traditional economies are being replaced by market economies throughout the world. The rich scholarship and depth of insight in Thompson’s work offer many clues to understanding contemporary changes around the globe.
“[This] long-awaited collection . . . is a signal contribution . . . [from] the person most responsible for inspiring the revival of American labor history during the past thirty years.” —The Nation
“This book signals the return to historical writing of one of the most eloquent, powerful and independent voices of our time. At his best he is capable of a passionate, sardonic eloquence which is unequalled.” —The Observer
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - jsburbidge - LibraryThing
This is a worthy companion to The Making of the English Working Class; it's ironic that where the latter is omnipresent as a coursebook and an entry-level work for its subject, this book is now out of ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
action Adam Smith agrarian agricultural Assize Atherstone authority Bohstedt bread Cambridge charivari church clock colliers common rights corn cottagers Court Leet courts crowd custom customary dealers dearth Devon E. P. Thompson early effigy eighteenth century enclosure England English evidence example famine farmers flour Folklore food riots Forest forestalling forms gentry grain halter harvest hegemony historians History horse husband Ibid industrial industrial revolution John John Clare labour land Le Charivari Lincolnshire London Lord magistrates manorial marriage Menefee mill millers moral economy neighbours Newcastle nineteenth century occasion offenders Oxford Oxfordshire parish paternalism paternalist peasant perhaps plebeian plebeian culture plebs poor poor law popular purchaser relations reported riding rioters ritual rough music skimmington Smith social society sold sometimes stang suggests Timworth town trade tradition usages village Whigs wife sale William wives women