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Transregional and Transnational Families in Europe and Beyond

Transregional and Transnational Families in Europe and Beyond: Experiences Since the Middle Ages

Christopher H. Johnson
David Warren Sabean
Simon Teuscher
Francesca Trivellato
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 372
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  • Book Info
    Transregional and Transnational Families in Europe and Beyond
    Book Description:

    While the current discussion of ethnic, trade, and commercial diasporas, global networks, and transnational communities constantly makes reference to the importance of families and kinship groups for understanding the dynamics of dispersion, few studies examine the nature of these families in any detail. This book, centered largely on the European experience of families scattered geographically, challenges the dominant narratives of modernization by offering a long-term perspective from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. Paradoxically, "transnational families" are to be found long before the nation-state was in place.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-184-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction Rethinking European Kinship: Transregional and Transnational Families
    (pp. 1-22)
    David Warren Sabean and Simon Teuscher

    In the current discussion of ethnic, trade, and commercial diasporas, “circulation,” international or global networks, and transnational communities, reference is continually made to the importance of families and kinship groups for understanding the dynamics of dispersion. Not very many of the studies, however, proceed to detailed examinations of those families and kinship groups that are or were scattered across the map, living in diverse cultural, ethnic, or political spaces, and coordinating their activities, maintaining claims upon each other, or carrying on various kinds of reciprocities. We want to suggest a series of analytical tools, themes, and conceptual clarifications that could...

  6. Chapter 1 The Historical Emergence and Massification of International Families in Europe and Its Diaspora
    (pp. 23-40)
    Jose C. Moya

    Today international families can be easily defined as those with members in more than one of the 192 nation-states that presently claim every inch of land on the planet.¹ But despite their present omnipresence, nation-states are a relatively recent phenomenon. Few scholars would date it farther than five centuries ago. Some argue that even in Western Europe, nations—as social, economic, and cultural units rather than simply administrative ones—emerged only within the last two centuries.²

    In the rest of the world, nation-states appeared, even as administrative units, after 1800. No single decade since then has failed to witness the...

  7. Part I The Medieval and Early Modern Experience

    • Chapter 2 Mamluk and Ottoman Political Households: An Alternative Model of “Kinship” and “Family”
      (pp. 43-54)
      Gabriel Piterberg

      The risk any generalization contains notwithstanding, it can be suggested that one of the most conspicuous features in the space stretching from the Indian subcontinent to Egypt in the period from 1100 to 1800 was the prevalence of the military patronage states, which were ruled by Turkic-speaking or Mongol-speaking elites and dynasties. One of the most consistent features of these states was the perpetual attempt to rule via a one-generation elite and thus to limit the scope of elites that have consequential roots in the ruled societies. This political organization gave birth to what is generally called the elite political...

    • Chapter 3 From Local Signori to European High Nobility: The Gonzaga Family Networks in the Fifteenth Century
      (pp. 55-74)
      Christina Antenhofer

      In the course of the fifteenth century, the Gonzaga managed to rise from localsignorito become members of the European high nobility. Before then, they had to solve severe internal family problems, culminating in fratricide and patricide in the fourteenth century. Their rise was accompanied by a reorganization of the family from a horizontal and competitive structure to one characterized by both hierarchy and collaboration.¹ In the process of becoming members of the European high nobility, the Gonzaga gave ever-greater influence to the main line, while reducing the influence of the collateral lines and cadets, leaving their local sphere...

    • Chapter 4 Property Regimes and Migration of Patrician Families in Western Europe around 1500
      (pp. 75-92)
      Simon Teuscher

      We tend to think of premodern patrician families as strongly attached to their cities. Many city councils at the end of the eighteenth century were still dominated by the same families that had acquired a leading position before 1500. Moreover, we find, among patricians probably more frequently than in any other social group of early modern Europe, property that remained over centuries in the possession of the same family and tied the latter to a particular city: family palaces and representative townhouses, pieces of land and manors in the city’s vicinity, venal offices, and trade monopolies. While members of the...

    • Chapter 5 Transdynasticism at the Dawn of the Modern Era: Kinship Dynamics among Ruling Families
      (pp. 93-106)
      Michaela Hohkamp

      Modern nations have long been regarded in European historical research as the result of long-term and successful territorialization and nationbuilding processes. On the basis of the implicit assumption that undisputed territorial ownership is the foundation of stable political power, “land” is considered to be the material substructure of power. Following this premise, the emergence of modern statehood is usually described as a linear process, which begins with the so-calledPersonenverbandstaat(personal union of ruling princes) and ends with the modern, territorially defined and democratically legitimated nation-state. During this process, the redrawing of territorial boundaries and the emergence of bureaucratically managed...

    • Chapter 6 Marriage, Commercial Capital, and Business Agency: Transregional Sephardic (and Armenian) Families in the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Mediterranean
      (pp. 107-130)
      Francesca Trivellato

      Historical studies of trading diasporas have grown in number and sophistication in the last two decades, especially with regard to the early modern period.¹ Almost without fail, this literature refers to the importance of transregional family ties. Typically, such ties are seen as a key factor for the commercial success enjoyed by small but proactive ethnoreligious communities of merchants scattered across space. Yet these studies rarely examine how specific kinship structures, inheritance practices, and dowry systems influenced the business organization of trading diasporas. This omission leaves us without a description of the specific social and economic mechanisms that allowed family...

    • Chapter 7 Those in Between: Princely Families on the Margins of the Great Powers—The Franco-German Frontier, 1477–1830
      (pp. 131-154)
      Jonathan Spangler

      Strasbourg, 1827. After having resided peaceably in this city since his Alsatian estates were restored to him by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Prince of Salm-Salm was required to leave France by the new Conservative Catholic Royalist government. His crime? He had declared his intention to convert to Protestantism. The issue at stake, however, was whether the formerly sovereign prince was to be considered an alien or a citizen and thus subject to French law. In his defense, the prince produced example after example of his ancestors’ and his own service to the French crown in the preceding...

    • Chapter 8 Spiritual Kinship: The Moravians as an International Fellowship of Brothers and Sisters (1730s–1830s)
      (pp. 155-174)
      Gisela Mettele

      The subject of this chapter is not a family in the conventional sense of the word but a chosen spiritual kinship. From this specific angle, the chapter will address issues that may be significant for an understanding of any transregional or transnational kinship system, such as the power of organization and central coordination, the creation of an imaginary order of belonging, networks of mutual aid and solidarity, and observance of common rituals and remembrance days. In what cultural forms do transnational families stabilize their collective memory? What are the media of family tradition? How does information about family events in...

  8. Part II Modernity

    • Chapter 9 Families of Empires and Nations: Phanariot Hanedans from the Ottoman Empire to the World Around It (1669–1856)
      (pp. 177-200)
      Christine Philliou

      Phanariots were a series of interconnected Orthodox Christian elites that grew out of the social and political fabric of Ottoman governance, rising to power in the late seventeenth century and enjoying an ascendancy that lasted until the 1820s.¹ Their political success far surpassed their mercantile origins and connected them with Ottoman governance in several ways: they served as translators in strategic scribal offices in Istanbul and in the Ottoman military and as governors in the semiautonomous provinces of Eflak and Boğdan (Wallachia and Moldavia in today’s Romania), all the while as their base of power rested on their association with...

    • Chapter 10 Into the World: Kinship and Nation Building in France, 1750–1885
      (pp. 201-228)
      Christopher H. Johnson

      This chapter examines the paths of several closely related families of Vannes in Brittany, perhaps the least “French” of France’s provinces under the Old Regime, as members branched out into the nation. Its key sources are the extensive and untapped manuscript correspondence and journals from within these families.¹ As a chapter in this collection on transnational families, it serves as a reminder that while the emergent nation-state and national economies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries gradually brought an end to the transnational roles of aristocratic court-service dynasties and reoriented the transnational functions of families in business, another phenomenon, the...

    • Chapter 11 German International Families in the Nineteenth Century: The Siemens Family as a Thought Experiment
      (pp. 229-252)
      David Warren Sabean

      During the nineteenth century, property-holding families within all stations and classes throughout Europe developed systems of marriage that linked the same families across generations. Chronicles of individual families present many forms of systematic and unsystematic repeated exchanges, and while many particular marriages may seem arbitrary, when viewed in the context of all the alliances established by a set of kin, they often fit into a logic of reciprocity or demonstrate systemic features. Certainly there were no rules that created the expectation or the necessity of marrying kin or prescribing choices directed towards particular kindred, clans, lineages, or patri- or matrilines....

    • Chapter 12 The Culture of Caribbean Migration to Britain in the 1950s
      (pp. 253-270)
      Mary Chamberlain

      While the changes in Europe’s flows of sentiment and flows of money reflected and resulted in its modernizing process and the concomitant reconfiguration of Europe’s political frameworks, economic institutions, and domestic arrangements, the same processes resulted in very different political and social configurations in Europe’s earliest colonies in the West Indies.¹ From the start the Caribbean was at the center of the global experiment, a region whose formation was, as Don Robotham has argued, “within the framework of global capitalism,” and whose strength and livelihood was intimately bound up with the commercial, military, and imperial ambitions of Europe.² Certainly for...

    • Chapter 13 Exile, Familial Ideology, and Gender Roles in Palestinian Camps in Jordan, 1948–2001
      (pp. 271-294)
      Stéphanie Latte Abdallah

      Camp refugee families in Jordan, who have been crucial in the reconstruction of Palestinian national identity after 1948, have produced what Pierre Bourdieu calls “a family of words”: a fixed representation of family values and practices that has transcended exile.¹ This representation is best understood as a “social fiction,” whose aim has been to counterbalance the harsh events of history.² Most social and political actors in Jordan have shaped and encouraged the idea of traditional family values. As Olivier Schwartz shows, for the contemporary context of workers’ families in the North of France, a social condition of subordination can indeed...

    • Chapter 14 Mirror Image of Family Relations: Social Links between Patel Migrants in Britain and India
      (pp. 295-312)
      Mario Rutten and Pravin J. Patel

      By the end of the twentieth century, about two million people of South Asian origin resided in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The majority of them, about 1.26 million, lived in Britain.¹ Geographically, the Indian migrants in Britain are concentrated in the urban counties of England, from Kent in the southeast to Lancashire in the northwest. The largest number, about 36 percent of the total Indian population, live in Greater London, while 22 percent have settled in the Midlands area.² By far the largest Indian communities in Britain originate from Gujarat and Punjab.³

      Gujarat is one of the most...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 313-340)
  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 341-348)
  11. Index
    (pp. 349-362)