Rural workers and the role of the rural in Eighteenth-Century English food rioting

Griffin, Carl J (2021) Rural workers and the role of the rural in Eighteenth-Century English food rioting. Historical Journal. pp. 1-27. ISSN 0018-246X

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Abstract

No form of English popular protest has been subject to such close scholarly analysis as the eighteenth-century food riot, a response not just to the understanding that food riots comprised two out of every three crowd actions but also to the influence of E. P. Thompson's seminal paper ‘The moral economy of the English crowd’. If the food riot is now understood as an event of considerable complexity, one assertion remains unchallenged: that riots remained a tradition of the towns, with agrarian society all but unaffected by food rioting. This article offers a new interpretation in which the rural is not just the backdrop to food protests but instead a locus and focus of collective actions over the marketing of provisions, with agricultural workers taking centre stage. It is shown that agricultural workers often took the lead in market town riots as well as well as in instigating riots in the countryside. Further, such episodes of collective protest were neither rare nor unusual but instead formed an integral part of the food rioting repertoire. It is also shown that rural industrial workers – notoriously active in market town riots – were often joined or even led by agricultural workers in their protests.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Food riots, Rural, Protest, Agricultural labourers
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2021 08:13
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2021 10:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/97263

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