Francesca Brunet

The mobility of apprentices and workers within and outside the borders of the Austrian State in the early 19th century: A normative framework

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The mobility of errand boys, apprentices, and workers, which profoundly characterized craft and manufacturing work throughout the pre-industrial age, is a fundamental element of the framework of artisan knowledge and its circulation. This theme intersects one of the main issues highlighted by studies on the mobility of individuals between the 18th and 19th centuries, namely, the progressive systematization, centralization, and standardization of systems of personal identification, in line with the increasingly pressing need of states to control their citizens. The contribution therefore proposes an overview of the main laws regulating the mobility of workers in the Austrian empire in the first decades of the 19th century, with particular regard to the Lombardy-Venetia Kingdom: this allows us to reconstruct not only the possible labor, social and ‘existential’ spaces of this category of itinerant people, but also the fears and cautions of central governments and peripheral administrative apparatuses in relation to such mobility.


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