Matteo Giuli

Law, smuggling and territory. The food politics in Lucca 16th-17th centuries

  • Abstract

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In the administrative projects of Lucca's aristocratic government, food politics («annona») played an essential role in the preservation of social peace in the state and in the maintenance of republican freedom («libertas»). The capacity for territorial penetration of these politics can be estimated only in relation to the context in which their normative and institutional instruments expressed themselves. From this perspective, the intersection between the urban government's food laws and the countryside's local pe- culiarities helped construct Lucca's territory, define its jurisdictional competences, and produce the prerogatives capable of certifying the juridical features of economic practices and modeling institutional actions. These dynamics created juridical exceptions that determined specific and localized power relationships. Their deployment enabled the political survival of the aristocratic class and of the Republic. The city employed a differentiated administration of its territory and was more interested in defending its stability by concessions to local rules than in pursuing a proper administrative model for all the state. Considering this political framework, the reconstruction of the social and economic practices related to food organization provokes doubts about the interpretive efficacy of the traditional administrative division of Lucca's countryside, which was unable to contextualize appropriately the daily relationships between government, subjects and territory.

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