Unequal impacts of weather extremes in early modern Norfolk, England

Hannaford, Matthew (2018) Unequal impacts of weather extremes in early modern Norfolk, England. In: World Economic History Congress.

Unequal impacts of weather extremes in early modern Norfolk, England

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In recent years there has been a resurgence in historical climate and disaster research. The social component of this research, with its focus on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, has nevertheless been conducted somewhat in the shadow of environmental reconstruction. Much remains to be understood about the relationship between weather extremes, harvest shortfalls and mortality in specific contexts (Slavin 2016), in explaining the spatial and social selectivity of mortality – whether by ecology, economic activity, wealth, institutional arrangements, public policy, sex or age (Walter and Schofield 1989; Healey 2015; Curtis and Roosen 2017), and in untangling the link between climatic conditions and the outbreak and spread of epidemic disease (Roosen and Curtis 2018). Systematic analysis of indicators such as mortality variation over long timespans can provide one of the main forms of insight into the geographical and chronological differentials of potential ‘climate impacts’ on society, which can, in turn, provide a robust basis to analyse the underlying causes of vulnerability to climatic hazards in particular contexts (van Bavel and Curtis 2016; Adamson et al. 2018; Hannaford 2018). The aim of this paper is to revisit the demographic effects of weather extremes and harvest deficiencies in England over the period 1538-1810, with a specific focus on Norfolk, East Anglia, but also to consider some of the multitude of factors which may have led to their spatially unequal outcomes on mortality.

Keywords:Epidemic, Disease, East Anglia, Famine, Climate
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F860 Climatology
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V310 Economic History
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:45178
Deposited On:22 Jul 2021 12:57

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