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Inequality and the City in the Low Countries (1200-2020)

B. Blondé, S. Geens, H. Greefs, W. Ryckbosch, T. Soens, P. Stabel (eds.)
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409 p., 178 x 254 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58868-1
Languages: English
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Social inequality is one of the most pressing global challenges at the start of the 21st century. Meanwhile, across the globe at least half of the world’s population lives in urban agglomerations, and urbanisation is still expanding. This book engages with the complex interplay between urbanisation and inequality. In doing so it concentrates on the Low Countries, one of the oldest and most urbanised societies of Europe. It questions whether the historic poly-nuclear and decentralised urban system of the Low Countries contributed to specific outcomes in social inequality. In doing so, the authors look beyond the most commonly used perspective of economic inequality. They instead expand our knowledge by exploring social inequality from a multidimensional perspective. This book includes essays and case-studies on cultural inequalities, the relationship between social and consumption inequality, the politics of (in)equality, the impact of shocks and crises, as well as the complex social relationships across the urban network and between town and countryside.

Bruno Blondé, Sam Geens, Hilde Greefs, Tim Soens and Peter Stabel are colleagues at the Centre for Urban History at the University of Antwerp. Wouter Ryckbosch is a member of the HOST, Research Group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. By questioning the long- term changes in the drivers ofsocial inequality, this book fits into the Research Agenda of Aipril (the Antwerp Interdisciplinary Platform for Research into Inequality).

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Low Countries’ Paradox: Historical Perspectives on Inequality and the City


Chapter 2. Get Rich and Try Dyeing. Cloth Production and Social Inequality in Town and Countryside (Sixteenth Century)

Chapter 3. Did Urban Manure Nourish the Country? Social Consequences of Fertiliser Improvement in Eighteenth-Century Flemish Farming

Chapter 4. Cities in Motion. Mobility, Migration Selectivity and Demographic Change in Belgian Cities, 1846-1910

Chapter 5. Organising the Work-Home Split by the Urban-Rural link. Transport Networks, Mobility and Urbanisation in Early Twentieth-Century Belgium

Chapter 6. The City and the Parking Lot: Movement and Standstill on the 21st-century Urban Labour Market


Chapter 7. The Impact of Urban Elites’ Political Participation on Economic Policy in the Low Countries 1100-1600

Chapter 8. Si grant inégalité? Town, Countryside and Taxation in Flanders, c. 1350 – c. 1500

Chapter 9. The Rise of the Fiscal State? Urban Finances, Politics and Social Inequality in Sixteenth-century ’s-Hertogenbosch

Chapter 10. An Experiment of Social Equality? The Case of the Calvinist Republic in Antwerp (1577-1585)

Chapter 11. Law Courts and Social Inequality in the Cities of the Eighteenth-Century Low Countries


Chapter 12. The Great Destruction of People and Wealth. The Impact of the Ghent Revolt on Wealth Inequality in the Last Quarter of the Fourteenth Century

Chapter 13. Levelling Through Space? The Redistributive Capacity of Demographic Decline in Antwerp’s Darkest Hour (1584-1586)

Chapter 14. Real Property, Speculation and Housing Inequality. Bruges, 1550-1670


Chapter 15. Craft Guilds as Vectors of Middle-Class Values

Chapter 16. In Haste for Better Taste? The Social Effects of Changing Dining Cultures in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth–century Bruges

Chapter 17. Comforts of Difference. Social Inequality and the Material Culture of Energy in Eighteenth-Century Ghent

Chapter 18. Violent classes? Interpersonal Violence and Social Inequality in Mechelen, 1350-1700

Chapter 19. The New Police as Agents of Class Control? Urban Policing and its Socio-Geographical Focus in Nineteenth-Century Antwerp


Chapter 20. How was City Life? Moving beyond GDP and Real Income to Measure Pre-modern Welfare and Inequality Levels

Chapter 21. Diachrony, Synchrony and Modernity. How to Contribute to the Debate on Economic Inequality from an Historical Perspective?

Chapter 22. Different systems and inequalities? Comparing education in the Low Countries

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

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