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Digital Humanities Lab

Digital Identity and Citizenship

United We Stand. The dynamics and consequences of Institutions for Collective Action in Pre-Industrial Europe


Project Leader: Tine de Moor
Financier: ERC
Partners: Univ. of Bologna
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Europe’s economic development in the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution continues to fascinate scholars. In recent debates, institutionalised forms of collective action have been put forward as a key feature of Europe’s precocious development. This project examines that connection between institutions and economic development in detail. It also harks back to the origins of such institutions, teasing out the impact of changing family patterns that emerged in Western Europe in the late Middle Ages, which are often described as ‘the European Marriage Pattern’. Together with such factors as the absence of a strong state and a helpful legal framework, the weakening of family relations may have created opportunities for other, non-kin social organisations to emerge, explaining the strength of institutions for collective action in this part of the world. Interactions between economic growth, marriage patterns and collective action institutions will be examined on several levels.