|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
others' social positions. For the majority it was not land that was the yardstick of status but moveable property--the goods and chattels in people's possession ranging from livestock to linens, tools to trading goods, tables to tubs, clothes to cushions. Such items were repositories of wealth and the security for the credit on which the bulk of early modern exchange depended. Accounting for Oneself also sheds new light on women's relationship to property, on gendered divisions of labour, and on early modern understandings of work which were linked as much to having as to getting a living. The view from below was not unchanging, but bears witness to the profound impact of widening social inequality that opened up a chasm between the middle ranks and the labouring poor between the mid-sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries. As a result, not only was the social hierarchy distorted beyond recognition, from the later-seventeenth century there was also a gradual yet fundamental reworking of the criteria informing the calculus of esteem.