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Managing the Commons: The role of the elites in the uses of common lands in the Midlands of the kingdom of Valencia during the Middle Ages

Valencia's CathedralManaging the Commons: The role of the elites in the uses of common lands in the Midlands of the kingdom of Valencia during the Middle Ages

FREDERIC APARISI & FERRAN ESQUILACHE, University of Valencia & Harca Group

Rural History (2013)

Abstract

In a recent paper, Danie Curtis has given a framework for classifying preindustrial societies in accordance with four variables, these are, the property, the power, the market of basic products and the modes of production. So, each preindustrial society could be classified attending to these variables according to its tendency to egalitarianism (egalitarian societies) or concentration (polarization) and according to its tendency to change and transformation (dynamic) or maintenance of the establishment (persistent). To conclude, Curtis defined four preindustrial societies in relation to these elements: persistent egalitarian, dynamic egalitarian, polarized persistent and polarized dynamic societies.

In spite of requiring nuances, as Curtis himself admits, we think this proposal results useful for compare, in general terms, different kinds of preindustrial societies, especially for the issue of the commons. And we said this because in the Valencian Country we find, during the middle ages, different kinds of preindustrial societies. Firstly, the Andalusin Muslim society, that can be classified as egalitarian persisten, although with nuances. And secondly, the feudal Christian society, present since the conquest in 13th century, that we can define it as dynamic-polarized. We must remember that the common lands were given by the king James I in return for paying the herbatge, although this issue has been studied in the previous paper.

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