Questions about the respective roles of private and state property have been at the center of European political life for the whole of the past century. Much less publicity has been given to the ways in which rights to property are transmitted over time and how different inheritance traditions have affected European societies. The chapters in this book draw on historical and anthropological research to show how inheritance practices connect the intimate organization of domestic life with questions of economic development, political structure and religious belief. The book traces the story from the coming of Christianity, through the imposition and dissolution of different forms of feudalism, to the development of the modern economy. Several chapters deal with the impact of communism and its collapse - and demonstrate how ideas about the inheritance of property and status are continuing to shape, and be shaped by, economic and social changes in a continent that is moving beyond the ideological dichotomies of the Cold War.
Publication Date: 2/6/2004