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Durham e-Theses
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Ploughmen's Society. A Prosopography of an Agrarian Community from Transylvania on the Eve of Modernity

DUMITRU, RAZVAN,IOAN (2023) Ploughmen's Society. A Prosopography of an Agrarian Community from Transylvania on the Eve of Modernity. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The East Central European peasantry, caught in the inescapability of history, actively participated in the major events that defined this space during the modern period. In the complex rural society of the Transylvanian Romanian ploughmen, which makes the subject of this work, the outside world was both a mirage and a mundane experience. Treated as homogenous assembles, as unitary masses, and often reproduced by the grand historiographical narratives of the past century from the perspective of a class struggle, the peasantry was repeatedly unjustifiably martyrised. Even when this was not the case, the interest showed to the Transylvanian village remained dominated by specific themes questioning the development of the institutions rather than of the population that upheld them. Constructing on these previous historiographical efforts, the main questions addressed in this research aim to discover who the members of this rural society are and what drove them to adapt and accept novelty in the face of the constant challenges of history. Requiring a permanent balance between accessing personal stories and connecting those stories to the significant historical events that were taking place in Transylvania and Europe in general, mixed-method research was employed using townhall records, parish records and correspondence, civil status records, newspapers and periodicals, oral history interviews and a series of ego documents such as photography and memoirs. Revealing individualities whose acceptance of tradition was constructed in accordance with their pragmatic desideratum, the members of this agrarian society, that dominated the Transylvanian social landscape until the twentieth century, embraced change as a perquisite of survival, resulting in surprisingly original answers.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Family history, rural history, local institutions, modern period, Transylvania
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Jan 2024 09:52

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