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Research Article

Subsidies to the Rescue. The funding of poor relief in Flemish village communities during the crisis of the 1840s, a comparative analysis

Author:

Esther Beeckaert

Ghent University, BE
About Esther

Esther Beeckaert (1994) studied history at Ghent University and graduated in 2016 on a MA dissertation on the crisis of the 1840s. She questioned regional differences in the coping strategies organized by village communities in Flanders. From 2016 to 2018 she worked at Ghent University on a collaborative research project, GINI (Growth, INequality and Institutions), that investigates inequality and economic growth in premodern Europe. Since October 2018 she works as a doctoral researcher on a FWO funded research project at Ghent University and Free University Brussels: ‘Community, control and commons. Access to land, use rights and social power relations in the Belgian Ardennes between 1750 and 1900’.

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Abstract

This article questions changes in the funding of local poor relief during the 1845-
1848 food crisis in Flemish village communities. This will be studied comparatively
between three distinct regions in Flanders: inner-Flanders, coastal Flanders, and the
Waasland. In all three regions it was local relief institutions that increased their financial
capacity in order to accommodate rising poverty, despite the long-term advance
of nationalized welfare in the background. However, considerable regional differentiation
could be detected in the nature and degree by which the funding strategies were
adapted. This is explained by three interrelated factors: the direct impact of the food
crisis, structural economic developments and the political organization of poor relief.

How to Cite: Beeckaert, E., 2019. Subsidies to the Rescue. The funding of poor relief in Flemish village communities during the crisis of the 1840s, a comparative analysis. TSEG/ Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History, 15(4), pp.5–32. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/tseg.1002
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Published on 12 Mar 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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