EAUH Conference 2018


Session SS09. Threshold Spaces? Integration of Foreign Craftsmen in European Cities 14th-16th centuries

Coordinators: Catherine Kikuchi (, Alberto Luongo (, Cecile Troadec (

At the crossroads between social, economic and urban history, and inspired by recent research on social mobility and the labour market, this session intends to explore the ways in which foreign craftsmen settled in and adjusted to late medieval and early modern European cities. Although a lot of work has been done regarding this issue, we don’t know much about their mobility pattern inside the urban space. We will focus specifically on the “threshold spaces”, i.e. the neighbourhoods where foreign craftsmen first dwelt. Furthermore, this session will investigate the transition from the “threshold space” to other inner-city areas : to what extent did the immigrant workers leave the “threshold space” and move to another urban periphery or to the center ? By addressing the links between centers and peripheries, this session will try to understand more fully how these immigrants helped creating new urban spaces and a new urban topography. Our session will thus offer a fresh perspective by giving new insights into the use of urban spaces.
This session aims at reaching a comparative perspective on the topic by collecting a wide variety of case studies so as to delineate different patterns for these threshold spaces. These patterns result from the combination of numerous factors, including geographic and social mobility, local specificities of the labour market, relationships with public authorities and access to property.
We especially welcome papers dealing with (but not necessarily limited to) the following issues:
- Geographical gathering and mobility of foreign craftsmen in the urban space.
- Access to property of foreign craftsmen (localization of the estate; to what extent part of foreign craftsmen remain tenants, in comparison to the rest of the urban population…); access to citizenship.
- Coexistence, solidarities and conflicts (especially in a professional environment) between foreign and local craftsmen (marriages, access to credit, transmission of skills and technology transfer…)
- Territorial planning for these threshold spaces by urban authorities.
Keywords: urban peripheries ; urban space ; immigrants ; craftsmen ; labour markets