|Temporary works. Professional and geographical mobility in XVIIth century Rome|
|My paper focus on professional and geographical mobility in XVIIth century Rome. Using sources as trials, notarial acts and records from the charity institutions, I wish to contribute to describe a labour market deeply charaterized by the mobility of individuals.
In the last years, mobility has been increasingly considered by historians as a constitutive trait of pre-industrial societies. Scholars do not consider any more migrations as the result of a lack of economical balance between two places (the so called “push and pull factors”), but rather as a normal feature of every human society.
Historians and social scientists has therefore started watching at mobility as a phenomenon whose reasons and dynamics are complex, and as an extremely widespread, common experience. Pre-industrial cities and their labour market, in fact, seem to be quite open to foreigners: as many scholars have underlined, early modern towns did not divide their inhabitants between citizens and not, but rather between stable and temporary inhabitants.
The practice of a job and the insertion in a guild are thus not at all precluded to foreigners: citizenship seems to be needed for another level of participation in the city’s life, that is political power and participation to the government. This feature of openness is at the base of the strong circulation of women, men, wealth and knowledges between pre-industrial European countries. In all the major cities we can find foreigners communities, which are frequently well inserted in the local labour markets, to whose functioning they are an indispensable part.
Moreover, evidences from the sources shows that, for a large part of working immigrants in Rome, this city is not the final destination, rather it is a step in a tour including other cities and villages (and sometimes othes states). Very often, a changement of residence corresponds to a changement of work, depending on local demand and personal ressources available to find a job, necessary to escape poverty. The research of resources for subsisting is not limited to the place of birth : it includes other cities and villages, which can be very far. That is why foreigners’ presence in a city is sometimes temporary, relied to a job which is not permanent.
Working immigrants coming to Rome have not always the purpose of settling in. Since mobility, both geographical and professional, is a very widespread experience, some traditional concepts need to be revised, in order to describe a labour market which is more flexible and fluide than thought. Seasonal work, by-working, temporary jobs, illicit work, professional mobility are some important features which can better describe the early modern labour market more complexe than the simple opposition guilds/illicit work lets us think.|