Making groups
Collective action in rural settlements
in Neighbours and strangers
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Access to resources and conflicts over resources provide many of the contexts for collective action by local groups. This chapter investigates the evidence for collaboration in basic agricultural tasks and other economic activities, as well as that for more political forms of cooperation, for instance in jointly building churches, running local courts, attesting land transactions; and it looks at the evidence for the role of conflict in defining discrete groups. Our focus examines how collective action brought together people of widely varying wealth, social standing and even different legal status. The chapter also considers the labels people used of themselves and those that others used of them, as well as attitudes to outsiders, such as non-residents, people culturally marked as foreign, and those excluded from the social group for lack of conformity or otherwise, as well as the conscious identification of some within the group, such as Jews, as 'other'.

Neighbours and strangers

Local societies in early medieval Europe

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