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The Marriage Exchange : Property, Social Place, and Gender in the Cities of the Low Countries, 1300-1550 - Martha C. Howell

The Marriage Exchange

Property, Social Place, and Gender in the Cities of the Low Countries, 1300-1550

Paperback

Published: 1st January 1998
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Medieval Douai was one of the wealthiest cloth towns of Flanders, and it left an enormous archive documenting the personal financial affairs of its citizens--wills, marriage agreements, business contracts, and records of court disputes over property rights of all kinds.
Based on extensive research in this archive, this book reveals how these documents were produced in a centuries-long effort to regulate--and ultimately to redefine--property and gender relations. At the center of the transformation was a shift from a marital property regime based on custom to one based on contract. In the former, a widow typically inherited her husband's property; in the latter, she shared it with or simply held it for his family or offspring. Howell asks why the law changed as it did and assesses the law's effects on both social and gender meanings but she insists that the reform did not originate in general dissatisfaction with custom or a desire to disempower widows. Instead, it was born in a complex economic, social and cultural history during which Douaisiens gradually came to think about both property and gender in new ways.

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Note on Money, Dates, and Names
Introduction
From Custom to Contract
The Social Context of Custom
Legal Reform as Social Engineering
The Social Logic--and Illogic--of Custom
An Alternative Logic
Living with the New
The Weight of Experience
The Douaisien Reform in Historical Context Conclusion: Marie, Franchoise, and Their Sisters
The Evolution of Douai's Douaire Coutumier
Written Custom and Old Custom in Douai Glossary of Legal Terminology
Glossary of Measures
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226355160
ISBN-10: 0226355160
Series: Women in Culture and Society Series
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 292
Published: 1st January 1998
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.1  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 2