This article explores the relationship between plebeian attitudes about work and plebeian attitudes about sociability. It takes as its start point the term that early modern people themselves used to describe sociability - 'company' - and argues that combining depositional material with an analysis of broadside ballads presents the best way to access such descriptions. What emerges is that the keeping of 'company' was informed by a 'politics of participation' which centred on a set of values that championed both hard labour and excessive drinking. This set of values points at the existence of a certain labouring identity in the period that has implications for our understanding of both the social order and plebeian agency.
- Broadside ballads
- Plebeian identity