Les desigualtats socials a la Catalunya preindustrial. L’estudi de cas de la Selva Interior, c.1750-1825

Mas Ferrer, Josep
This thesis explores social inequalities during the late preindustrial era, based on a case study from la Selva Interior. The work is organized into three distinct parts. In the first one, inequalities are examined through the analysis of the Floridablanca Census of 1787 and the «Llista de l’Armament General del 1795». This analysis allows for a determination of the socio-professional structure in both the countryside and the villages, as well as an observation of economic wealth inequalities through direct taxation data found in the "Llista de l’Armament". The second part uses marriage contracts as the main documentary source. Starting from the first information they contain (the occupation of the protagonists) and ending with the last (the ability to sign the document), and passing through the central element of the contract (the dowry), different scenarios of potential (in)equality are analysed, along with social mobility. Finally, the third part of the thesis employs probate inventories to approximate the living standards of families, considering both the relationship with land ownership and other real estate, means of production, and the consumption of movable goods. The obtained results suggest that on the eve of the Liberal Revolution (and the definitive rise of capitalism) there was a significant increase in inequality, which accelerated during the tumultuous years that characterized the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. This process of social differentiation would have been characterized by the erosion of the middle classes, while a small elite consolidated itself increasingly distanced from a growing mass of families with insufficient resources. These results show a similar trend to those found in other studies of a similar nature. In contrast, they differ from certain studies based on other parts of the Girona region, where significant economic dynamism driven from below was observed. ​
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