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Iron-making Societies: Early Industrial Development in Sweden and Russia, 1600-1900

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Iron-making Societies

Early Industrial Development in Sweden and Russia, 1600-1900

Edited by Maria Ågren

368 pages, 2 maps, 1 table, 17 ills, index

ISBN  978-1-57181-955-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 1998)

eISBN 978-1-78238-803-6 eBook

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"[The results of the Russian-Swedish research team] are presented an exemplary fashion and rigorously edited ... Whoever is interested in the industrial development of European economy and society should read this book."  · Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte

"... very well written, clearly arranged and interesting and easy to read ... an important study."  · Eva Österberg, Professor of History, University of Lund.


The title of this book has a double meaning: on the one hand, it deals with two very different societies both of which made iron in the early modern period. On the other hand, iron "made" these societies: the needs of iron production and the resistance to these demands from local peasant communities gave the societies a special kind of cohesion and rationality.

This volume presents the findings of a joint team of Swedish and Russian scholars examining the social organization of work in early modern iron industry and their respective societies. The comparison was carried out against the backdrop of the international discussion on proto-industrialization, its prerequisites and consequences. There has, however, been a certain bias in much of that debate, the focus being mainly on Western Europe, particularly on Britain, and on textile trades. This book offers an important contribution to the debate in that it widens the perspective by discussing Northern and Eastern Europe and by studying the iron industry. More particularly it examines actual production processes, the organization of work, social conflict, questions of ownership and its evolution, as well as the diffusion and organization of technical knowledge. The comparative approach is consistently applied throughout, with each chapter closely integrating the results relating to the two selected geographical areas, thus showing ways of solving some of the problems arising from comparative history.

Maria Ågren teaches in the Department of History at Uppsala University

Subject: General History
Area: Northern Europe Central/Eastern Europe


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1.Introduction: Swedish and Russian Iron-Making As Forms of Early Industry
Maria Ågren

Chapter 2. Iron-Making in Peasant Communities
Maria Sjöberg with Anton Tomilov

Chapter 3. The Social Organisation of Work at Mines, Furnaces and Forges
Anders Florén and Göran Rydén with Ludmila Dashkevich, D.V. Gavrilov and Sergei Ustiantsev


Chapter 4. The Social Organisation of Peasant Work
Maria Ågren with Nina Minenko and Igor Poberezhnikov

Chapter 5. Charcoal: Production and Transport
Maths Isacson with Igor Poberezhnikov

Chapter 6. Households, Families and Iron-Making
Göran Rydén with Svetlana Golikova


Chapter 7. Community and Property
Maria Ågren with Vladimir Zhelezkin and Vladimir Shkerin

Chapter 8. Knowledge: Its Transfer and Reproduction in Occupations
Rolf Torstendahl with Ludmila Dashkevich and Sergei Ustiantsev

Chapter 9. Iron-Making Societies: The Development of the Iron Industry in Sweden and Russia, 1600–1900
Anders Florén

Notes on Contributors

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