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Uneven lives: female economy, migration patterns and citizenship in Early Modern Italy

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FemEcoMig (Uneven lives: female economy, migration patterns and citizenship in Early Modern Italy)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2019-04-30

FemEcoMig studies the connections between migration, female work, female property and social networks in Early Modern and Modern Italy. It focuses on domestic and international migration and on migrant women (and their families) who moved to and into the state of Piedmont-Savoy during the period 1650-1860.

In the first section, FemEcoMig investigates the role played by work, property and social networks of migrant women. It intersects migration and female work, property and social relations with gender, age, marital status, social position, age, education. The FemEcoMig project reassess the importance of women by analyzing how female material resources and relationships allow women and the members of their families to achieve settlement patterns and to gain access to urban resources. The research inquires into women's paid and unpaid work. Secondly it highlights how migrant women were able to use their property (dowry, personal incomes or inherited goods) and what became of their assets in the natal community. Thirdly, the research deals with the nature and the extent of female social networks - family and kinship ties, community ties, networks of peers etc.. - and their strategic use for settlement and access to urban resources (guilds/labour market; welfare system). Finally, the role of female work, assets, social networks and kinship ties is considered in the larger context of the household perspective (participation in the business family, overlapping of professional and kinship ties etc…).

The second section of FemEcoMig focuses on women and men applying for naturalization and citizenship and asks what were the reasons for their application. The contents of the grant are examined, as well as the practices and the concrete conditions in which citizenship and/or naturalization were enacted by foreigners. Pioneer studies which paid attention to the connections among women, guilds and citizenship, rarely carried on in-depth analysis of links between the previous, migration and settlement practices, economic activities and family strategies. FemEcoMig therefore deals with citizenship and naturalization and trough the reconstruction of biographies it shows how in the past the access to civic rights was linked to the possibility for women and men to act as social and economic actors.

The FemEcoMig project improves our understanding of contemporary phenomena of migration. It shows the economic and social role of migrant women in independent migration as well as in family migration, through their work, property and social ties.
Description of the Work Package and work performed (with details and confidential data is in the attached final report)

WP1 (D1a and D1b)
Training at Cambridge University.
The ER attended the seminars at the Centre for History and Economics and at The Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure (Campop), the Brown Coffee meetings held every Thursday at Camp and a range of academic lectures, training classes and public history events.

WP2 (D2a and 2b)
Data gathering, setting up of four databases and quantitative analysis (1650 to 1840):
a) ‘Migrant women and alienation of dowry’
b) ‘Naturalization database for Piedmont’
c) ‘Citizenship in Turin’
d) 'Inns and taverns in Turin'

WP3 (D3)
Reconstruction of biographies of the migrants by using the notarial archives

WP4 (D4)
Transcription of migration regulations and laws of the duchy of Savoy/Kingdom of Sardinia for the period 1650-1860 (four printed sources)

a) Qualitative analysis of the archival data (D5a). The ER has learned about the PST system and has use it for the above mentioned databases (WP2).

b) Bibliography (D5b).
The ER has written a bibliographic overwiev on women, gender and labour migration that will be published as part of the introduction of a collective book.
The bibliography on naturalisation and citizenship have been presented at the Graduate Summer School at the University of Rouen.

WPs 6 and 10
a) Article for a peer-reviewed journal on women, work and migration. An article have been sublitted to an international peer-review (D6)

b) The ER is writing an article for a peer-reviewed journal on women and naturalizationo (D10)

WPs 7 -8-11
a)Public engagement: a website has been dedicated to the research project for academic and non-academic-public. D7

b) Articles for non-specialist public. The ER has followed a training class and will write a short article for non-academic audience (D11)

WP9 (D9)
Organisation of the international workshop Migration and Gender : relationships, economic resources and institutions in historical perspective (15th-20th centuries) University of Cambridge, 8-9-10 November 2018.

WP10 (see WP6)

WP11 (see WPs 7 and 8)

WP12 (D12)
Organisation of the international workshop Mobility and capabilities: education, training and apprenticeship of migrant women and men (16th-early 20th century), University of Cambridge, 5 July 2019. The ER is settling for publishing the in a special number of a review.

WP13 (D13)
Draft of a monograph in English. The ER has discussed the structure of the book with the supervisor and other colleagues.
The FemEcoMig project led to five findings:

1) In preindustrial Turin and Piedmont female and male migration rates were high and remained relevant in the long run, well before industrialization and urbanisation and the overwhelming transformations of the nineteenth century.

2) FemEcoMig has shown that the European Marriage Pattern (EMP) and the life-cycle service pattern described by Hajnal and Laslett are not reliable to describe the situation for preindustrial Piedmont and Turin. This requires a better understanding of the service sector.

3) Beyond the importance of the service for migrants, the FemEcoMig has shown the relevance of other female migration patterns. Especially the craft and the manufacturing sectors attracted a relevant portion of the female migrant labour force.

4) The regulation of migration in preindustrial societies can be understood only adopting a non-state/non-national perspective, that is to take into account the policies set up by local authorities which controlled the access to urban resources (labour market, poor relief etc..).

5) The contemporary notion of citizenship, connected to the state-nation, is not a reliable tool in order to investigate how newcomers settled down and integrated in the social and economic context of the societies of the past. Citizenship and naturalisation were linked to the possibility for women and men to have access to local resources (labour market, welfare system), local social networks and to enjoy property rights.

The FemEcoMig project has wider societal implications, especially in the understanding of contemporary migration: the long run and historical perspective shows that migration were and are multidimensional and multi-factorial phenomena. FemEcoMig unveils the crucial economic and social role of migrant women in independent migration as well as in family migration. At the same time, leads to a reconsideration of citizenship and naturalization and shows that the achievement of these civic rights were entangled in the life of migrants, in their capacity to contribute to the economic development of the new context and to act as economic actors, in their capacity to gain access to urban resources and in their capacity to build and mobilize social ties.