The present essay links the social, institutional and cultural approaches of guilds and guildsmen with their daily economic practice. Using as the point of departure a case study of the Antwerp and Ghent garment trades during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, a preliminary model is presented, stressing the interrelatedness between divergent strategies, behavioural practices and specific market segments. It is argued that the choice of artisans for a certain market segment implied path dependency and, hence, influenced their investment patterns, their labour relations, their attitude towards the guild, and their personal representation in daily life.
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