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“Uncontrolled Crossings”. Gender and Illicit Economic Territories in Eighteenth-Century French Towns

Authors
  • Montenach, Anne
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Source
HAL-INRIA
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

This chapter seeks to analyse the relationship between spatial and gender aspects of illegal exchange in the pre-modern urban economy, by concentrating on salt and textile smuggling in Lyons and in the towns of the border province of Dauphiné in the eighteenth century. Since it articulates the local and the global, the town appears to be a good scale for analysing illicit economy, and for approaching the diversity of spatial configurations which were pertinent for every male or female economic actor who contested the official rules of exchange and their impact on the urban space. In this perspective, the paper will develop some particular case studies which allow to use and confront different scales of analysis : the urban ‘interstices’ of the unofficial calicos market during the French prohibition (1686-1759) ; the illegal circulations of salt and textile between some towns and their peripheries ; the international smuggling spaces linking Lyon or Grenoble to Geneva. This chapter will pay particular attention to the complementary notions of visibility and clandestinity, mobility and immobility and especially to the various ways in which men and women used and negotiated the spatial – but also legal and social – boundaries. The concept of male and female economic territories will be used heuristically in order to analyse the relationships between gender, space, power and institutions, and to show how the physical space of the city and its surroundings was experienced as and considered to be a resource by all participants in the illicit economy.

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