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The rural community: a case study of two regions of Staffordshire, 1750 - 1900

Kitchener, Miles Jonathan

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Miles Jonathan Kitchener


In studies of community in the past there is a general absence of conscious, structured theory, invariably resulting in a lack of coherence and comparability. This thesis is, then, an application of the concept using an explicit theory of community. It is conducted through a case-study of two, contrasting regions of rural Staffordshire - the 'Lowlands' and the 'Moorlands' - with a focus on one parish within each region, between the mid-eighteenth-century and the later nineteenth century. It tests the hypothesis that the growth of capitalism in the local economies of these two regions led to changes in social relationships and structures within the two principal communities studied, and that these changes were in the direction from 'integrated' communities towards 'class-based' communities. The first part of the thesis shows how the basis for an integrated community in the eighteenth century was undermined by the personal forces of capital's advance, (that is by the actions of the landlords and farmers), though- to differing degrees in the two regions, with the Moorlands being altered rather less. The second part focuses on the nineteenth century, and reveals that the community in the Lowlands had moved some way, though not completely, towards becoming a class-based community; the community in the Moorlands, however, had moved even less in this direction, and in many ways remained more in the mode of an integrated (eighteenth century-like) community.

Publication Date Jan 1, 1987


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