The socio-cultural dimension of peddlery in Moravia and Silesia
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Peddling is one way of selling goods, which, unlike other forms of trade, takes place in the home of the customer. The first mention of peddlers is found in the Middle Ages and the early Modern period, but in Central Europe it started evolving in the 18th century. It became a way to get material security for the poor population, especially in mountainous and foothill areas. Peddlery was subjected to the intense control of the authorities and was restricted by certain legal standards. In Moravia and Silesia peddlers were not only local people, but also traders from neighbouring countries of the Habsburg Monarchy (Slovakia, Galicia) or the Balkans. In the majority society a negative stereotype gradually began to form of the peddler, influenced, for example, by traders and artisans from the towns, by printing, by the anti-Semitic movement, etc. But in rural communities peddlers who respected basic ethical norms were able to gain people’s trust.
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