Skip Navigation Links

Alternative Agriculture in Europe (sixteenth-twentieth centuries)

G. Béaur (ed.)
approx. 350 p., 57 b/w ill., 35 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58674-8
Languages: English
PaperbackPaperback
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (06/2020)
Retail price: EUR 80,00 excl. tax
How to order?

The issue of long-term agricultural transformations remains a hot topic in historiography. The texts of this book intend to take this debate seriously into account by putting several models of alternative crops to facts.

The treatment of long-term agricultural transformation remains a lively topic for historians. Much debate arose when agricultural development patterns were discovered that did without a dominant, production-oriented cereal crop, even when it was accompanied by livestock farming. Joan Thirsk hoped to conclude this debate by putting forward the hypothesis that such "alternative agriculture" was the farmers’ way of responding to the difficulties caused by periods of low agricultural prices. This theory stirred up controversy and arguments both for and against.

The contributions to this volume take this hypothesis seriously and attempt to assess its validity. Examining a large number of "alternative agricultures" over the long term, from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, they discuss the issues encountered in tracing the links between the spread of alternative crops, such as fruits and vegetables, flowers, and industrial crops, and the general economic environment, across a vast swathe of territory stretching from Flanders to Spain and from France, through Italy and Switzerland, as far as Russia.

Gérard Béaur is Directeur de Recherches « émérite » at the French CNRS and Directeur d’études at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales. He is currently president of the European Rural History Organisation (EURHO). His research focus mainly about the history of the countryside and more precisely about land market, credit and agriculture. He has recently co-edited Property rights, land market and economic growth, and Measuring agricultural growth. Land and labour productivity in Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth century (England, France and Spain), in 2013 and 2014.

Table of Contents

Gérard Béaur. Introduction « Alternative agriculture » or « alternative crops »?

The debate

Jean-Pierre Poussou. Another look at Joan Thirsk’s concept of « Alternative Agriculture », and why it should be discarded

Alternative agriculture and the city

Michael Limberger. Turnips, flax and clover. Farmers, Landowners and Agricultural Innovation in the Antwerp countryside in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Hervé Bennezon. Adapting to the Paris Market:Montreuil in the Second Half of the Seventeenth Century
Nadine Vivier. Was Horticulture an alternative crop? A case study of Parisian horticultural suburbs in the nineteenth century

Crises and alternative agriculture

Caroline Le Mao. War, crisis and alternative crops: The Case of Hemp and Wine in France from 1688 to 1697
Gabriel Jover Avellà. Was there an agrarian crisis in the Mediterranean world during the last third of the seventeenth century? The case of the island of Majorca
Niccolò Mignemi.The Battle of Wheat and Other Fascist Battles in Italian Agriculture (1920s-1930s)

Alternative Agriculture and Growth

Tim J. A. Le Goff. Alternative Agriculture in Northern Burgundy: the Wines of the Hôpital Général of Dijon in the Eighteenth Century
Emmanuelle Charpentier. The Emergence of the Breton “Golden Belt”:The Region of Saint-Malo in the Eighteenth Century
Luigi Lorenzetti. Between Conversion and Innovation: Alpine Fruit Growing in Trentino-South Tyrol and the Valais, 1860-1960

Changing Alternative Crops

Salvador Calatayud. New crops in the crisis of Mediterranean agriculture: Valencia, 1800-1950
Anne-Lise Head-König. Alternative agricultural production in Switzerland, sixteenth to twentieth century: successes and failures
David Celetti. Considerations on Hemp and Alternative Agriculture in Italy, France and Russia from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century

Salvatore Ciriacono, Conclusion

Interest Classification:
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Social & economic history
Modern History (1501 to the present)
Early modern history (1501-1800) : main subdisciplines
Social & economic history

This publication is also distributed by: ISD, Marston
Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions © 2020 Brepols Publishers NV/SA - All Rights Reserved