The essay offers a critical review of the historical debate on global trade in the early modern age and a consideration of the current methodological status of economic history. Retracing the main guidelines established in the last decades in Anglo-Saxon economic history, the cliometric and the neo-institutionalist one, it highlights the progressive hegemony of neoclassical theory as well as of a methodological approach that replaces analysis to explanation, data to sources, model to contexts. In the light of modernist historiography, it examines the substantial limits of this literature, which can be traced back to its constitutive theoretical premises: the avoidance of a historical and plural definition of State and institutions, the simplification of economic agency in a rational choice scheme, the persistence of methodological nationalism. Starting from the affirmation of a radical alterity of the historical approach compared to the theoretical one of the rational choice, the essay closes with a glance at the emerging historiographic trends, such as the New History of Capitalism, aiming at re-evaluating the contribution of economic anthropology and the economic history of the Annales to the historical study of the markets.
Parole chiave: Mercato globale; commercio a distanza; Nuovo istituzionalismo; Globalizzazione iniziale
Keywords: Global market; Distant trade; New institutionalism; Early globalization; Capitalism
The article explores women’s economic agency in the «border economies» of Mediterranean ports and islands, focusing on the case of Stromboli, in the Sicilian Aeolian Archipelago, in the first half of the nineteenth century. The position of women in the public and the private sphere and the lack of relevant contemporary socio-professional categories makes it difficult to identify their activities, although they are crucial to the understanding of coastal societies. The paper stresses the importance of women’s full involvement in the typical pluriactivity of such communities, combining trade with agriculture and seafaring. In Stromboli, travelers’ reports, notarial and judicial sources show a number of intertwined activities: women toiled in the fields and went fishing, lent money and spun silk, processed agricultural produce and managed family businesses. They played a significant role also in the «shadow economy» of informal and/or illicit trades.
Parole chiave: Economia della frontiera; Economia informale; Lavoro delle donne; Sicilia
Keywords: Border economy; Informal economy; Women’s work; Sicily
Firstly, this article analyses two monographs (La Régence absolue. Philippe d’Orléans et la Polysynodie, 2011; Paris ou Versailles? La monarchie absolue entre deux capitales, 2015) which, in the wake of the suggestions previously put forward by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, propose a new interpretation of the Regency of Philip II d’Orléans (1715-23). Rejecting two antithetical ideas – the one that saw in the Regency nothing more than an artifice aimed at masking the unchanged reality of absolute power, and the one according to which it was the prologue to the Revolution, Dupilet and Lemarchand identify in the work of Philip of Orleans an emblematic proof of the composite nature – both exécutive and délibérative – of the French political system. As a consequence, they represent the Ancien Régime as a historical path in which contrôle and ouverture intertwined rather than opposing and alternating. Then, taking this specific revision as a starting point, the article proposes a more general historiographical overview aimed at problematizing paradigms such as «modern state» and «absolutism».
Parole chiave: Reggenza; Polosinodia; Ancien Régime
Keywords: Regency; Polysynody; Ancien Régime
The essay analyzes the intellectual and political debate on the legitimacy of the use of the words «fascism» and «anti-fascism» in today’s Italy. One of the most problematic points is that the term «fascism» has always been referred to diverse objects. This happened in the years of the early Fascist movement as well as during the Fascist regime, as the essay tries to show by retracing the historiographical debate. This ambivalence continued to apply during the second half of the twentieth century.
Parole chiave: Fascismo; Antifascismo: Italia contemporanea
Keywords: Fascism; Anti-fascism; Contemporary Italy