Samhävd och rågång. Om egendomsrelationer, ägoskiften och marknadsintegration i en värmländsk skogsbygd 1630-1750.
The development towards more exclusive and private agrarian property rights has been considered one of the most important and crucial aspects of the modernisation process. Several theoretical models have been suggested to explain and analyse this development. Among them, two not necessarily incompatible, approaches can be identified. The neo-institutional property rights approach focuses on economising behaviour among individual agents in relation to factors such as enforcement and transaction costs, relative prices, market integration and contracts. The more sociological or class based property relations approach focuses on factors such as power structure, distribution, exploitation and social networks. The aim of this thesis is to carry out a local empirical study of this development in a critical dialogue with these theoretical models. The investigated area is Fryksdals härad (hundred) in Värmland County, a forest and ironproducing district in central Sweden. Local court rolls constitute the main sources of the thesis The region experienced a considerable economic transformation during the investigated period. The regulation and privatisation of access to commonly controlled woodlands and pastures as well as the reallocation of scattered strips on infields plays an important role. Immigration, population growth, colonisation and rapid establishing of iron mills in the 1690´s, contributed to a commercialisation of economic relations in general, and an increased scarcity of commonly managed resources such as wood, charcoal and waterpower. This development puts strains on the traditional local arrangements of rights over land and natural resources. A significant part of the legal cases reflects disputes and agreements concerning rights to village commons and infield strips. In the beginning of the period these cases are dominated by inter-village relationships concerning demarcations and common rights. During the investigated time, intra-village relationships concerning both commons and scattered strips become more frequent. The long-run result of this process could be described as a kind of enclosure where communal and socially embedded rights were gradually redefined.
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