Sociability, work and labouring identity in seventeenth-century England

Mark Hailwood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-29
Number of pages21
JournalCultural and Social History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Broadside ballads
  • Company
  • Drinking
  • Plebeian identity
  • Work


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