31 March 2010

Bas van Bavel

Manors and Markets: Economy and Society in the Low Countries 500-1600

The Low Countries - an area roughly embracing the present-day Netherlands and Belgium - formed a patchwork of varied economic and social development in the Middle Ages, with some regions displaying a remarkable dynamism. 'Manors and Markets' charts the history of these vibrant economies and societies, and contrasts them with alternative paths of development, from the early medieval period to the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Providing a concise overview of social and economic changes over more than a thousand years, Bas van Bavel assesses the impact of the social and institutional organisation that saw the Low Countries become the most urbanized and densely populated part of Europe by the end of the Middle Ages. By delving into the early and high medieval history of society, Van Bavel uncovers the foundations of the flourishing of the medieval Flemish towns and the forces that propelled Holland towards its Golden Age.

Exploring the Low Countries at a regional level, Van Bavel highlights the importance of localised structures for determining the nature of social transitions and economic growth. He assesses the role of manorial organization, the emergence of markets, the rise of towns, the quest for self-determination by ordinary people, and the sharp regional differences in development that can be observed in the very long run. In doing so, the book offers a significant contribution to the debate about the causes of economic and social change, both past and present.

Charts 1000 years of history - a comprehensive account of the medieval Low Countries
Reveals the roots of Holland's 'Golden Age'
Covers a wide range of topics, including manorial system, witchcraft, the expansion of towns, and popular revolts - all placed in context of social and economic change

Bas van Bavel is Professor of Economic and Social History of the Middle Ages at Utrecht University. He is one of the coordinators of Utrecht University's research focus area Origins and Impacts of Institutions, in which historians, jurists, public administrators, economists and sociologists jointly study why the rules of social movement and the organisations related to these rules have attained their specific form and how they operate.

Title: Manors and Markets: Economy and Society in the Low Countries 500-1600
Author(s):  Bas van Bavel
isbn: 978 0 19 927866 4
Price: £ 75.00
Publisher: 2010, Oxford University Press