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Accounting for OneselfWorth, Status, and the Social Order in Early Modern England$
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Alexandra Shepard

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600793

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600793.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2022

Depending on Others

Depending on Others

Chapter:
(p.191) 6 Depending on Others
Source:
Accounting for Oneself
Author(s):

Alexandra Shepard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600793.003.0006

This chapter examines the responses of witnesses who claimed to depend on others for their maintenance, in the form of charity; parental support; and marital interdependence. At one extreme of ties of dependency, receiving alms carried some stigma, and charity placed individuals beyond the credit relations governed by expectations of reciprocal obligation. Dependence on parents, at the other extreme, functioned as a form of patronage and informed dynastic expressions of entitlement by younger witnesses from relatively prosperous families. Some women’s claims to depend on their husbands were likewise expressions of relative status, rather than of productive inactivity. Furthermore, the majority of wives who detailed the source of their maintenance referred to their own contributions. The range of tasks undertaken by married women suggests that marriage, rather than widowhood, was the point at which women took up more varied and independent forms of work and gained a significant stake in household enterprise.

Keywords:   charity, credit, parents, children, women’s work, marriage

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