The programme for these Study Days will focus on ‘non-institutional’, ‘marginal’, and ‘parallel’ commercial relationships by taking a long-term perspective and comparing them with markets that are regulated by rules and institutions. For many years, economic historians have concentrated their research on legal trade, but there is now a growing interest in the illicit or black market among researchers working in areas such as sociology, economics, and pre-industrial history. Several publications have studied the structure of the black market in the early modern period and the ways in which illicit and licit markets interacted, showing that irregular practices were a structural characteristic of early modern economies. For earlier periods of history, it is difficult to obtain information on the practices and identities of actors operating outside regulated markets, because of the limited number of sources available. For this reason, taking a trans-disciplinary approach gives us an opportunity to analyse issues and concepts for different historical periods. The objective for these Study Days is therefore to bring together historians of all pre-industrial periods from Ancient Greece and Rome to the early modern era and launch a debate on the various forms of the ‘unofficial’ side of economic activity.
Thus, our intention is to study non-institutional commerce in terms of the persons involved and their presence in the marketplace. While their ability to trade legally may have depended in large part on their personal, civil and political status, it is also important to understand how and where they entered into commercial transactions and, more particularly, how and when conflicts, rifts and transgressions occurred. The Workshop will allow participants to reflect on concrete situations and experiences, rather than on pre-established categories of persons who were either excluded from, or marginal to, commercial activities (women, minors, strangers etc.).
Conflicts and transgressions are particularly interesting as they reveal the types of restrictions that commercial actors had to overcome together with the resources available to them for defending their interests and rights, according their age, class and status in society. By analysing the rapports de force that emerged from these marginal activities, we can also identify the opportunities for agency that were available to individuals operating at the margin of the formal market, the power structures within which they operated, the way in which, as a result of conflict, they were seen as having rights by the authorities, their ability to exploit or circumvent the regulations on trade, and the restrictions that they had to face.
This workshop will take a heuristic approach to the examination of cases of marginality, conflicts and transgression in order to understand the mechanisms for the construction and appropriation of real and symbolic commercial territories.
Submission of papers:
Proposals may be submitted in French or in English (max. 500 words), together with a short biography (including publications), before 15 February 2014 to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentations may be made in either English or French. Travel and hotel expenses will be reimbursed.
Closing date for submissions: 15 February 2014
Notification of acceptance: 5 March 2014
Closing date for reception of written presentations: 1 September 2014
Eleonora Canepari (University of Oxford, Italian Studies at Oxford)
Julien Dubouloz (Aix-Marseille Université, UMR 8210 ANHIMA)
Anne Montenach (Aix-Marseille Université, UMR 7303 TELEMME)
Isabelle Pernin (Aix-Marseille Université, UMR 7299 Centre Camille Jullian)
Dates for the Workshop:
Marseille, Thursday 2-Friday 3 October 2014
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