Germany: A New Social and Economic History

Scribner, Bob
Date published: 
October 1995

This three-volume history represents the first modern attempt to present an understanding of social and economic change in Germany from the Middle Ages to the present. Despite a long tradition of scholarship in the field, it has taken a considerable time for an emphasis on long-term structures and the material basis of culture and society to take root, and it is part of the purpose of the present project to demonstrate the fruitfulness of such an approach across a broad spectrum of major topics. With original contributions from an international team of scholars, the volumes represent some of the best work in the field. The first volume discerns the roots of sixteenth-century developments in the later Middle Ages, as far back as 1300, establishing basic economic frameworks in population and agrarian development, patterns of towns and town-country relations, social structure and changing patterns of consumption and daily life. Characteristic features of the 'long sixteenth century' are early capitalism, changes in the gendered nature of work, the social and economic role of institutions, the importance of communalism and religious change which lead to modern confessionalism. This volume both summarizes recent research and provides fresh thematic approaches to German history based on specialist expertise and original insights.