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Peasant-Citizen and Slave: The Foundations of Athenian Democracy

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The controversial thesis at the center of this study is that, despite the importance of slavery in Athenian society, the most distinctive characteristic of Athenian democracy was the unprecedented prominence it gave to free labor. Wood argues that the emergence of the peasant as citizen, juridically and politically independent, accounts for much that is remarkable in Athenian political institutions and culture.From a survey of historical writings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the focus of which distorted later debates, Wood goes on to take issue with influential arguments, such as those of G.E.M. de Ste Croix, about the importance of slavery in agricultural production. The social, political and cultural influence of the peasant-citizen is explored in a way which questions some of the most cherished conventions of Marxist and non-Marxist historiography.

Author: Meiskins Wood Ellen
Publisher: VERSO
Pages: 210
ISBN: 9781784781026
Cover: Paperback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2015

Ellen Meiksins Wood, for many years Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, was the author of many books, including Democracy Against Capitalism, The Pristine Culture of Capitalism, The Origin of Capitalism, Peasant-Citizen and Slave, Citizens to Lords, Empire of Capital and Liberty and Property.

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