Sara Margaret Butler deposited “Cultures of Suicide? Regionalism and Suicide Verdicts in Medieval England.” in the group Legal history on Humanities Commons 2 years, 8 months ago
The use of the term “community” in historical studies continues to present problems for many medievalists. Myriad studies have emphasized the inadequacy of the term when describing medieval society. Microstudies of manors and villages, especially in the English context, by historians Barbara A. Hanawalt, J. Ambrose Raftis, and Sherri Olson (among others) have highlighted the sheer variety of experiences within and among the peasantry, reminding us that the “village community” masks a much more complicated and fractious economic and social grouping of people than previously thought.1 “The mystique of the ‘village community’” tends to favor harmony over tension and conflict, thus veiling the reality that the peasantry did not all share the same experience (and for that matter, neither did the gentry, the nobility, or the ecclesiasts). Nevertheless, more recently, this debate over whether or not to use the term “community” seems to have come full circle.