Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 7307
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Farmer , Sharon.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Down and Out and Female in Thirteenth-Century Paris
  • Source URL: American Historical Review (Full Text via JSTOR) 103, 2 (April 1998): 344-372. Link Info target = '_blank'>American Historical Review (Full Text via JSTOR) 103, 2 (April 1998): 344-372. Link Info
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Charity Disabled Gender Miracles Paris Poverty Social History Social Networks Work
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 13
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  • Abstract: In "Down and Out and Female in Thirteenth-Century Paris" Sharon Farmer draws on miracle stories, and a variety of other sources, to enhance our understanding of the day-to-day survival of medieval poor women. She argues that poor women survived long-term disability with varying combinations of assistance from family members, charitable institutions, employers, neighbors, close companions, and informal alms. Farmer reveals that women received less assistance from craft guilds than did men, but that employers sometimes assisted both their male and female employees during episodes of prolonged illness or disability. She also surmises that single women were more likely to assist each other through hard times than were single men. Indeed, Farmer argues that, among the working poor, married women did not necessarily fare better than did single women when faced with an inability to work. Farmer's imaginative use of the miracle stories demonstrates that charity often occured in horizontal, rather than vertical, relationships, and that medieval poverty was highly gendered. In the conclusion to her article she attempts to explain why, despite the "microhistorical turn" that took place among social historians in the 1970s, her sources have never before been used to illuminate the social networks of the poor. [Abstract submitted by the author to the Medieval Feminist Index.]
  • Author's Affiliation: University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1998.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00028762
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