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Entailing Perpetuity: Family, Power, Identity. The Social Agency of a Corporate Body (Southern Europe, 14th-17th Centuries)

Objective

Few legal phenomena have been so relevant to premodern southern Europe societies as entails, a specific strategy that evolved to protect family inheritances, thus enabling the reproduction of elite social status. The VINCULUM project aims to explain how entailment became possible, how it functioned, and why it lasted for so many centuries. The project rests on the innovative theoretical claim that entails, as corporate bodies, functioned as a key social agent, created and acting within societies for which non-personal legal subjects were normal. Building on the Portuguese-Iberian case, and on the extensive research already carried out by me and my team, I propose to study 'entailment' as a diverse but pivotal practice, one embedded in law, aristocratic discourse, and kinship-based organization, and to carry out comprehensive analysis that explores this global nature. The research approach systematically breaks with traditional research frontiers: cases will extend from the 14th to 17th century in both continental and Atlantic spaces, and include both comparative perspectives and the study of later social reconfigurations.

VINCULUM will be anchored in extended research in public archives and on unprecedented access to extensive private family archives, which have been opened to research by the ARQFAM program I have led since 2008. Data collection will allow for the construction of a large database, gathering all documents relating to each entail, under a theoretical model that seeks to reconstruct past information systems, thus testing a novel methodology developed in my previous research. The database that will gather c.7000 thousand entails, enabling systematic inquiries organized around the new conceptual definitions proposed by the project. The research will be strongly interdisciplinary, engaging with historical anthropology and archival science in order to construct a proper theoretical model for understanding this crucial legal and social phenomenon.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/sociology/anthropology
  • /social sciences/law
  • /social sciences/media and communications/library science/archives

Call for proposal

ERC-2018-COG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-COG - Consolidator Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSIDADE NOVA DE LISBOA
Address
Campus De Campolide
1099 085 Lisboa
Portugal
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 591 450

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSIDADE NOVA DE LISBOA
Portugal
EU contribution
€ 1 591 450
Address
Campus De Campolide
1099 085 Lisboa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments