Beyond Guilds: Work and Manufactures in the European Cities, 14th-18th centuries - EAUH 2014

Call for papers, deadline 15 October
September 3, 2014 - September 6, 2014, 12th International Conference on Urban History in Lisbon, Portugal.

Call for paper for the session M15. Beyond Guilds: Work and Manufactures in the European Cities, 14th-18th centuries

Keywords: Urban Economies; Labour Market; Europe; Manufactures; Medieval and Early Modern Period

Period: Middle Ages; Early Modern

Type: Main Session

Session organizer(s):
Luca Mocarelli (Italy) - University of Milan - Bicocca Markus Cerman (Austria) - Inst. f. Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte der Universität Wien

Over the last decades, guilds have been at the core of the debate among historians, economists and social scientists. In particular, their impact for the medieval and early modern urban economies has been deeply questioned, thanks also to the interest for the rising success of the neo-institutional theories. However this renewal of interest has forgotten to take into consideration an important section of urban manufactures, i.e. the large groups of non-guild workers.
Focusing especially on 'guilds', studies have partially understood the urban economies and, in particular, the urban manufactures. In order to better reconstruct these dynamics, it seems necessary to focus on the 'free', non-guild labour, which has its own relevance quantitatively and for the interaction with guilds and urban institutions.

This session aims to analyze the labour beyond guilds, with a particular reference to the manufactures and with a comparison between the European cities. In particular, the goals are:

1. To reconstruct the quantitative dimension of the free labour market, whereas sources are available
2. To build a taxonomy of the various forms of free labour, with the aim to develop further comparative analysis
3. To analyze the forms of conflict and cooperation between guild and non-guild labour institution, including also the designing of policies by urban authorities in order to control migrant and foreign workers
4. To consider the relations between town and country, with a focus on non-guild labour

We welcome papers which discuss one or more of these issues through original case-studies of individual cities or that adopt a comparative perspective. The final goal is to discover similitudes or differences among the various European urban economies and to offer a more comprehensive reconstruction of their evolution.

To submit a paper proposal, registration is required via the EAUH 2014 site (

A paper proposal for presentation at the conference should be submitted in the form of an abstract only (not to exceed 300 words).

Start of paper proposals submission: May 15, 2013 Deadline for paper proposals submission: October 15, 2013 Notification of paper acceptance: December 15, 2013

Important: Paper proposals and full texts can only by submitted online, via the EAUH2014 website. If sent by post or email will not be accepted.

Dr. Andrea Caracausi, Ph.D.
University of Padua
Via del Vescovado, 30
I-35141 Padova
email: andrea.caracausi [at]
skype: andrea.caracausi

[Cross-posted, with thanks, from H-Labor]