John Walter

Chapter 3 . The geography of food riots, 1585–16491 I U rbanisation, regional specialisation and market integration were the larger changes against which disorder was directed in this period. Dearth, occasioned by the recurrent crisis of harvest failure and trade depression, exposed the weak points and tensions that these changes had created. The government’s continued public endorsement of traditional economic suppositions and popular condemnation of changes in marketing practice were sources of legitimation for the crowd’s actions. Since the central

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Carl J. Griffin

Were hunger rioters really hungry? The question, as the introduction details, has framed so much scholarship on food rioting that the importance of hunger has, paradoxically, been all but ignored. Invariably initial work on food riots was dominated by essentially causal analyses: immediate bodily need, high prices. Hunger figures here, but rather than asking how

in The politics of hunger
Protest, poverty and policy in England, c. 1750–c. 1850
Author: Carl J. Griffin

In the age of Malthus and the workhouse when the threat of famine and absolute biological want had supposedly been lifted from the peoples of England, hunger remained a potent political force – and problem. Yet hunger has been marginalised as an object of study by scholars of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century England: studies are either framed through famine or left to historians of early modern England. The politics of hunger represents the first systematic attempt to think through the ways in which hunger persisted as something both feared and felt, as vital to public policy innovations, and as central to the emergence of new techniques of governing and disciplining populations. Beyond analysing the languages of hunger that informed food riots, other popular protests and popular politics, the study goes on to consider how hunger was made and measured in Speenhamland-style ‘hunger’ payments and workhouse dietaries, and used in the making and disciplining of the poor as racial subjects. Conceptually rich yet empirically grounded, the study draws together work on popular protest, popular politics, the old and new poor laws, Malthus and theories of population, race, biopolitics and the colonial making of famine, as well as reframing debates in social and economic history, historical geography and famine studies more generally. Complex and yet written in an accessible style, The politics of hunger will be relevant to anyone with an interest in the histories of protest, poverty and policy: specialists, students and general readers alike.

Maldon and the crisis of 1629
John Walter

modern England. In the case of the food riot, however, it is perhaps becoming more generally accepted that the pattern of disorder was somewhat different from that suggested by the fear of the authorities, or that posited by a too-simple relationship between poverty, harvest failure and a presumed popular inclination to riot.3 Years of harvest failure in England in this period were not scarred by widespread food riots; disorder was largely confined to the weak points within an as-yet immature national marketing structure.4 Moreover, while there can be no doubting the

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Carl J. Griffin

’s moral-economy thesis. Moreover, concurrent with the supposed death of the food-rioting ‘tradition’ after the national wave of food rioting in the 1790s as explored in the previous chapter, wages rather than food prices and availability became the key factor in labouring living standards and, ergo, in determining rural social relations. 10 With this in mind, and with the

in The politics of hunger
Trevor Dean

madman provokes me any further, I shall have him thrown out of the windows of the Campidoglio’. 69 Food shortage and food riot: Siena, 1328 The food shortages of 1328–9 were among the greatest of the fourteenth century, and caused political and social problems in many cities. Cronaca

in The towns of Italy in the later Middle Ages
Author: Trevor Dean

The towns of later medieval Italy were one of the high points of urban society and culture in Europe before the industrial revolution. This book provides more inclusive and balanced coverage of Italian urban life in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In looking for the chief features of Italian communal cities, it focuses on: the unity of city and dependent countryside, the stability of population, urban functions, the development of public spaces, social composition, the development of autonomous institutions, and civic culture. The book begins with three of these: Bonvesin da la Riva's innovative description of Milan, Giovanni da Nono's more conventional, but lively description of Padua, and an anonymous, verse description of Genoa. It also focuses on the buildings and their decoration, and urban 'social services'. The book then addresses Italian civic religion. It explores production and commerce: the effects of monetary affluence, the guilds and markets, government interventions to stimulate production, to regulate exchange, and to control the city's population. The book deals with social groups and social tensions: popolo against magnates, noble clans against each another, men against women, young men against city elders, Christians against Jews, freemen against slaves, food riots and tax revolts, acts of resistance and indecency. Finally, it examines the great variety of political regimes in late-medieval Italy: from consolidated communes such as Florence or Venice, to stable or unstable 'tyrannies' in Pisa, Ferrara or Verona.

Author: John Walter

Early modern England was marked by profound changes in economy, society, politics and religion. It is widely believed that the poverty and discontent which these changes often caused resulted in major rebellion and frequent 'riots'. This book argues for the inherently political nature of popular protest through a series of studies of acts of collective protest, up to and including the English Revolution. Authority was always the first historian of popular protest. Explaining the complex relationship between the poor and their governors, the book overviews popular attitudes to the law and the proper exercise of authority in early modern England. A detailed reconstruction of events centring on grain riots in the Essex port of Maldon in the crisis of 1629 is then presented. Urbanisation, regional specialisation and market integration were the larger changes against which disorder was directed between 1585 and 1649. The book discusses the 'four Ps', population growth, price rise, poverty and protest, explaining their connection with population explosion to poverty and protest. The major European revolts of the so-called 'Oxfordshire rising' are then analysed. Popular politics might deploy 'weapons of the weak' in a form of everyday politics that was less dramatic but more continuous than 'riot'. On the very eve of the Civil War, large crowds, with underemployed clothworkers, attacked and plundered the houses of local Catholics and proto-royalists among the nobility and gentry. In a culture that proscribed protest and prescribed obedience, public transcripts could be used to legitimise a popular political agency.

On hunger politics
Carl J. Griffin

famines of the 1840s did recognisably humanitarian discourses evolve, new modes of reporting emotionally connecting the comfortable with the sufferings of the starving. 14 For much of the eighteenth century an expression of hunger found form in food rioting, the practice arguably being the defining protest of eighteenth-century Britain. 15 The ‘death’ of this tradition with

in The politics of hunger
Abstract only
Carl J. Griffin

, hunger was never understood in a neat, linear way. As related in chapter one , to ask whether ‘hunger rioters’ were ever really hungry might be an interesting intellectual exercise but it is to miss the point. 10 To engage in food rioting, and the associated protest practices, was an attempt either to preserve (and/or redirect) supplies, or to maintain fair prices and quality. It was an attempt to prevent hunger, or to prevent

in The politics of hunger