chapter
3 Pages

Introduction

WithAnne Montenach

This chapter explores explicitly the relationship between the town, gender and economic development. It also stretches the traditional idea of economy by exploring different types of markets and their nexus. Rules and institutions were indeed at the heart of urban life, the chapter shows that economic life was, in early modern and modern urban Europe, not cut off from the social, cultural and religious but also political worlds. More broadly, rules could be more or less flexible according to the evolution of economy and society, as shown, for instance, by the changing relationships between guilds and unfree workers. In many respects, the gendered character of towns has not been central to traditional urban and economic history. By interjecting gender into the history of migrations and highlighting 'the gendered paths to incorporation into urban labour markets', Manuela Martini raises complex questions about women's emancipation or dependence and, more broadly, about the transformation of hierarchies within the migrant family.