Introduction: Women, property and legal change
|KRIS INWOOD a1|
a1 Department of Economics, University of Guelph.
The distribution of property in any community reflects a variety of cultural, economic and social influences including, not least, a legal framework that defines property and the rights to use and transfer it. Legal change, in turn, has the capacity to reshape distribution and the complex matrix of culture, society and economy that surrounds access to property. The articles that have been brought together for this special issue of Continuity
Change document and analyse the gendered patterns of ownership in a variety of times and places. Each of the contributors has encountered some difficulty in determining the relevant legal framework, the extent to which laws were enforced, who owned what, patterns of inheritance and the meaning of ownership itself. The authors respond by examining a range of sources with imagination, ingenuity and methodologies that originate in different disciplines. The precise shape of the research of course depends on the circumstances of the particular historical context.
(Published Online July 7 2004)