Individuals, Families, and Communities in Europe, 1200-1800
In this new interpretation of European family and society, Katherine Lynch examines the family at the centre of the life of 'civil society'. Using a variety of evidence from European towns and cities, she explores how women and men created voluntary associations outside the family - communities, broadly defined - to complement or even substitute for solidarities based on kinship. She shows how demographic, economic, religious, and political features of European urban society encouraged the need for collective organizations for mutual protection, and how men and women acted to fulfil this need. She also emphasises the central place that family issues played in the creation of larger communities, from the 'confessional' communities of the Reformation to the national 'imagined' community of the French Revolution. Based on original research, this is an ambitious integration of the history of the family into the history of public life.