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13.09.49, Quertier, et al., eds., "Arriver" en ville

13.09.49, Quertier, et al., eds., "Arriver" en ville

This volume is a collection of essays presented at a 2011 colloquium that addressed urban immigration in the Middle Ages. The conference gathered, along with a few specialists, doctoral students who formed a study group at the University of Lyon. The tome is divided into four sections, each containing several papers. The volume begins with an introduction by Denis Menjot and concludes with a short essay by Patrick Boucheron, who synthesizes the volume's main lines of research. An English summary of papers, and indexes of names and places end the volume.

In their prologue, the editors define the group's methodology, founded on the application of concepts such as "urban studies" to medieval research. They follow by quickly surveying eight key elements of their findings. 1-Close attention must be paid to vocabulary. 2-Temporary moves often became permanent. 3-Leaving a city was not an automatic marker of social exclusion. 4-Historians must study rejection mechanisms to follow migratory trajectories. 5-Migrants used a variety of structures and networks of insertions (corporations, neighbors, patrons/clients, familial networks, confraternities, religious orders, etc.). 6-The historiography has demonstrated that medieval people moved toward cities, thus immigration's impact on the urban social fabric should be measured. Historians need to evaluate migrants' strategies of implantation and insertion in their new cultural environment. 7-When studying the reasons for immigration, several factors must be taken into consideration. What were the constraints attached to leaving "home" and settling into a new location? While we think of migration from country to city as a common phenomenon, we must also consider moves within an area or a city. 8-It is possible to measure the success of migratory strategies by linking spatial to social mobility. While historians have studied how migrants integrated into new societies, they need to also identify how immigration became organic to the urban social fabric. How did néocitadins (a new French word for new townspeople) interiorize social norms after receiving them?

Once the aims of the volume are introduced, Denis Menjot conveniently draws the main historiographic lines of medieval urban immigration. Who were the people who migrated (origins and reasons for migrating)? How did they integrate into new societies (modality, political climate)? What were their relations to local societies and what influence(s) did these societies exert on them? As Menjot states, the answers to these questions are linked to a variety of factors that makes the synthesis difficult. Still, he teases out a few conclusions from the historiography, such as, medieval society "moved."

Menjot reminds us that Historians have most often identified migrants through toponymic analyses. These showed that Urban growth correlated with immigration throughout Western Europe. The more we advanced in time, the farther people traveled. The immigration pull matched a city's size and commercial influence, and hence, the larger the city, the farther people traveled to reach it. On average, migrants represented some 20 to 30 percent of an urban population. Some populations did not move voluntarily; they escaped persecution (e.g., Jews), slavery (e.g., Mudejars), taxes, or war. Others moved for employment (e.g., merchants, soldiers, courtiers, students, artisans, mendicants, and scientists). Depending on time and place, immigrants were, either integrated or marginalized, discriminated against or rejected.

In general, the wealthier the migrants, the easier the integration. Linguistics, religion, and cultural barriers led to civic and social, if not spatial, segregation. Authorities controlled immigration through various means: taxation, access to real estate possession, citizenship, and professions, and practiced "elastic" regulations based on economic conjuncture. These regulations provided advantages to immigrants when labor supply was short, constraints when the balance was reversed. The foremost space for integration was the neighborhood (or parish) that often assembled compatriots, people with similar occupation and religious observances (confraternities). For most European cities, historians can identify specific cases of successful integration. This success often leaned on the quantity of immigrants and the economic situation of the host city. In many cases, immigrants mitigated their desire for integration with a longing for their homeland. Immigrants have, in general, been beneficial to their host society, importing various innovations with their labor force, and most importantly multicultural diversity and "hybridity."

The volume's first section focuses on the identification of migrants, and methods for localizing newcomers in a variety of medieval sources (literature, archeology, anthroponomy, and fiscal and judiciary registers). Arnaud Lestremau and Lucie Malbos discuss the detection of foreigners in northern European port-cities of the early Middle Ages. The presence of imported objects, alien names, and foreigners in various narrative sources allows them to unveil some of the migrants' activities. Etienne Hubert investigates the identification of foreigners by the bureaucracies of late medieval Italy and their codification of names supplemented by new ways of categorizing, like physiognomic traits. Matthieu Scherman itemizes how immigrants were classified in the fiscal registers of Treviso, noting that "good immigrants" were the ones who stayed and paid taxes. He highlights their strategies for integration (commercial, familial, religious, and geographic ties) and concludes with a few success stories. As mentioned in the many articles grounded in Italian sources, spatial mobility led to social mobility.

The second section concerns migrants' installation in cities and how cities encouraged, framed, and regulated their arrival. How did migrants choose their new locations goals, and what were the constraints imposed by host societies? And what were their rapports with local authorities? Gionata Tasini deals with inter-communal pacts/treaties and the juridical protection of foreigners in central Italy (12th-13th century). Judicaël Petrowiste is interested in migrants' strategy of integration in Toulouse during the 12th-13th century. He suggests that most immigrants came to the city searching for employment and links geographic to professional mobility. In addition, socio-economic promotion led to political advancement. As in many cities, total integration was reached when migrants bought real estate and lived in the city, paid communal taxes, and participated in urban militias.

Escaping the boundaries of Western Europe, Julien Loiseau investigates Mamluks and their integration into 14th and 15th century Syrian and Egyptian cities. The author qualifies these migrants as the "aristocracy of migrants;" a military trained foreign elite feared by local populations even though they were of servile origins. Mamluks officers did not acculturate to local mores. Still, they married local women, resided in the city (but still quartered in the citadel), and created pious foundations (waqf) as a form of memorialization. Dressing and feeding local poor, they obliged countless individuals to preserve their memory.

Ending this section, Florence Berland examines courtiers of the Duke of Burgundy in 14th and 15th century Paris, and Roxane Chilà studies Catalans in 15th century Naples. In both cases, immigration is treated as a "curial" phenomenon, and both consider the court as a structure for migration. Courtiers followed orders coming from their lords, and their movements can be described as "micro mobility." They functioned independently of their location but could still maintain social relations with their host society. In certain cases, the perception of the court as a political entity, inimical to the host society, created hostility against courtiers, as Roxane Chilà demonstrates for the Catalans residing in Naples.

The third section focuses on long-range assimilation and aims at localizing migrants within various social-spatial arrangements. It questions the validity of discussing "urban segregation" for migrants but underscores the importance of certain spatial anchors like national neighborhoods. The focus is put on migrants in Constantinople (10th-12th century), Scandinavian students in 13th and 14th century Paris, and Jews and Muslims in Catalan cities at the end of the Middle Ages. Christophe Giros searches for signs of integration in Byzantine society, using, for example, hagiographic literature. He surmises that in case of judicial and fiscal matters, foreigners were allowed the status of "residents." Using records of real estate purchases by Scandinavian ecclesiastics, Elisabeth Mornet emphasizes the close bonds between Nordic students and the French capital, and especially with the abbey of Saint Denis. Christophe Cailleaux surveys the treatments of the Jewish and Muslim minority in 14th century Barcelona and Tortosa, using legal, fiscal, and notarial records. Even if rarely treated as "extranei," both cities never granted full citizenship to immigrants. Although somewhat integrated, they were still refused entry into municipal offices, and spatially segregated.

The last section highlights the specificity of the merchants' world, their sedentarization and integration. Dominique Valerian focuses on Latin merchants in the Maghreb, and the role played by dragomen (professional interpreters/facilitators) as pivotal intermediaries in trade. Jérôme Hayez focuses on the well-studied Tuscans of papal Avignon, underscoring their informational, social, and economic networks that always maintained contact with the home city. Cedric Quartier examines the stigmatization of foreigners through a 1390 bankruptcy case involving Pisans and Florentines, and the action of the Mercanzia as the designated tribunal for such cases. The last paper, authored by Laurence Moal, investigates the lives of Castilians in 15th and 16th Nantes. Castilians remained "foreigners" by necessity to benefit from the economic advantages offered by the French crown. But they strove to integrate Nantais' space and nobility by purchasing real estate in the city, creating pious foundations, accessing municipal offices, marrying into Nantais' society, and god-parenting Nantais' children.

As this quick description of the volume shows, the geographical and chronological span is wide (Europe, except Flanders and the German-speaking lands, the Byzantine empire, North Africa, and the Middle East). Unfortunately, the volume lacks balance and coherence. If the stated aim of the volume is to offer grounds for comparison, it is regrettable that most articles do not "talk" to each other and with the historiography. Each essay is set in isolation. Why not regroup all the articles dealing with Italy in a single section (six articles for a total of fifteen) instead of strewing them in the various sections? Why not discuss foreigners' use of similar strategies of integration, regardless of time and place? Since the volume represents the conclusion of several years of discussions, one would expect a synthesis highlighting differences and commonalities, evolution and regression according to, for example, demographic and economic factors. However, conclusions are left to the reader. Data is presented, but analysis is limited, lacking a sound discussion of each specific historiography, and most of all, of each paper's contribution to medieval urban studies. It should be noted that most articles are silent on the Anglo-Saxon/US historiography. This is history in a vacuum. I cannot list all the British and US scholars who have worked on similar topics and are ignored, but the absence of even a nod to working concepts such "trading Diaspora" or "movement of people" is problematic. So, what remains is a collection of limited studies that will allow historians to maybe gather some comparative material.