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Women of high and medium-ranking officers in the Ile-de-France between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: what economic agency?

Abstract : Between the first half of the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, female agency was modified thanks to new juridical practices. In the sixteenth century, Parisian customary practices were favourable to women, especially to wives of officeholders. They could enjoy a wealthy lifestyle during their marriage: in addition to their dowry, they could also receive a part of their family's inheritance and upon their husband's predecease, childless widows could share the community of assets. This fostered a strong economic collaboration between collateral relatives. Such collaboration was progressively modified in parallel to the transformation of the rules of inheritance, which became increasingly unequal, and based on birth order and gender. A micro-historical approach helps us further understand why marital separations seemed to increase and why women requested them. A specific case of marital separation in the Pommereu family, which unravelled between 1704 and 1709, elucidates some of the characteristics of this transformation in women rights. Absence of community of assets, atypical clauses in marriage contracts, differences in the interpretations and in the uses of domestic economy: all of these factors led to a new definition of female property. Judicial debates and court decisions together with transformations in the practices of domestic economies enhanced female agency, which was also based on new competences, especially those pertaining to the financial milieu, as clarified by the case of a widow, Mrs Johin, whose activities as administrator of the Pommereu household were instrumental in consolidating this family's financial situation.
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Submitted on : Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 6:03:25 PM
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Claire Chatelain. Women of high and medium-ranking officers in the Ile-de-France between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: what economic agency?. Anna Bellavitis; Beatrice Zucca Micheletto. Gender, Law and Economic Well-Being in Europe from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century. North versus South?, Routledge, 2020, 9780367588908. ⟨hal-02915164⟩

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