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Making a Living, Making a DifferenceGender and Work in Early Modern European Society$
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Maria Agren

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190240615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190240615.001.0001

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The Dark Side of the Ubiquity of Work

The Dark Side of the Ubiquity of Work

Vulnerability and Destitution among the Elderly

(p.159) 6 The Dark Side of the Ubiquity of Work
Making a Living, Making a Difference

Erik Lindberg

Benny Jacobsson

Sofia Ling

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with how old people made a living, and how other people could make a living by taking care of the old. It discusses various forms of provision for the old in Sweden, from the wealthy farmers who could purchase care by selling their landed property, to the most destitute who had no other options but cohabitation in poverty. The chapter shows that source descriptions of care for the elderly are rarer than descriptions of childcare, and old women are more often described as poor than are old men. Wages fluctuated widely from year to year in early modern economies, and people who worked for daily wages were more vulnerable to these swings in purchasing power than people with landholdings. The chapter uses these insights to engage in a discussion about entitlement, well-being, and quality of life, particularly for those whose main asset was their labor power.

Keywords:   gender, work, class, old-age care, poverty, entitlement, vulnerability

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