La politica nella parentela : conflitti locali e commissari in Liguria orientale (secoli xvi-xvii)
Quaderni storici, 1986, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 721-757
RAGGIO, Osvaldo, La politica nella parentela : conflitti locali e commissari in Liguria orientale (secoli xvi-xvii), Quaderni storici, 1986, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 721-757 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/70835
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
In rural communities of early modern Liguria the idiom of kinship is the basic organizing principle of social and political relationships. Kinship identity is provided by name, location, and claims over a range of resources as well as by collective responsibility toward governmental taxation and justice. Local economic and social practices are the product of consciously pursued strategies by the kin groups but are hardly devoid of inherent tensions. Enmity and feud, together with arbitration and settlement involving direct interaction with government commissioners dispatched from Genoa, are in fact the inner and outer dimensions along which kinfolk build, test and consolidate group cohesiveness. In the communities, feuding stakes out the social and territorial boundaries of each group and maps out the range of its allies. Within individual kin groups, the feud provides an egalitarian idiom which enables poor or outcast members (such as bandits) to renegotiate their standing by threatening to breach the peace or by demanding protection and assistance from their more fortunate kinfolk. In all instances, the dynamics of kin relationships are closely interwoven with those of local and overarching authorities. Since conflicts regularly involve recourse to formal justice and constantly produce arbitrated settlements, communication between local society and the State emphasizes contractual relationships and is cast in a shared idiom. Indeed, «procuring the peace among kindreds» is the paramount task assigned to commissioners by the Republic's central authorities. As a result, the commissioners effectively reinforce local forms of social and political organization even as they purport to legitimize state intervention in community life.
First published: 31 December 1986
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/70835
Publisher: Societa Editrice Il Mulino
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