Poverty, Family Economies and Survival Strategies in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries
This chapter describes the part of eighteenth-century Europe's urban economy that is associated with the survival of men and women in the process of being excluded permanently from the labour market, the sick and recently arrived immigrants or vagabonds who populated the streets and squares of the main European cities of the old regime. The survival strategies of men, women, families and households involved acquiring resources not only from regulated, formal work but also from other formal and informal practices to obtain food, household goods, money, medicines or a roof over their heads. The use of welfare institutions, alms, public soup, the help of primary networks of socialization, philanthropist activities, microcredits or the Church were sources that provided resources. Men's itineraries when facing poverty were more institutionalised and went from joining the army to, by means of the reforms of enlightened governments at the end of the eighteenth century, taking part in road construction and public works.