During the second half of the 20th century, the dominant view among historians and cultural commentators was that epidemic diseases in the past had led to extreme social responses, creating a fear of easily targeted groups and manifesting itself in blame, persecution and even violence. This chapter aims to accept that there are some examples of disruption emanating from plague outbreaks in the Low Countries. Findings say that rather than an opportunity for social control and the repression by elites and authorities, there is mounting contrary evidence to suggest that disasters were an opportunity for the ‘lower orders’ and the poor to offer active or passive resistance to elite discourse on societal behaviour, The chapter shows that the need to engage local communities and be respectful of their cultural contexts when developing epidemic containment strategies is something that not only runs very deep across different societies, but also goes far back in time.

978-1-00-302344-9
dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781003023449-18, hdl.handle.net/1765/129761
Department of History

Curtis, D.R. (2020). Preserving the Ordinary: Social Resistance during the Second Pandemic Plagues in the Low Countries. In Waiting for the End of the World? New Perspectives on Natural Disasters in Medieval Europe. doi:10.4324/9781003023449-18