1st Edition

Gender, Space and Illicit Economies in Eighteenth-Century Europe Uncontrolled Crossings

By Anne Montenach Copyright 2024
    310 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book seeks to contribute a multi-dimensional, multi-layered and gendered approach to the illicit economy in the historiography of early modern Europe.


    Using original source material from several countries, this volume concentrates on a border and transnational area—approximately the Lyon-Geneva-Turin triangle—located at the heart of European trade. It focuses on three products—salt, cotton and silk—all of which fuelled the black market between the last decades of the seventeenth century and the French Revolution. This volume offers an original contribution to wider studies of smuggling, illicit markets and women’s economic roles by taking into account the economic life of remote mountain communities and industrious cities.

    Showing that irregular practices were a structural characteristic of early modern economies, it provides insight into the opportunities offered to women in a highly flexible economy where licit and illicit activities were intermingled in a very complex way. 


    This research monograph is aimed at a historical audience and constitutes a useful resource for students and scholars interested in gender history, social and economic history, urban history and French studies.


    Part 1: Mountains and Smuggling

    1. Salt and the Mountain Economy

    2. In the Shadow of the State: A Border Economy

    3. Gender, Household and Illicit Trade

    Part 2: Fashion and Prohibition

    4. Playing with Space: The Geography of Fraud and Control

    5. Gender and Sociology of the ‘Underworld’

    6. Smuggling Inside the City

    Part 3: Luxury and Clandestinity

    7. Gender, Work and Fraud in a Luxury Industry

    8. Waste or Theft

    9. Fraud: Protagonists and Settings

    10. Concluding remarks


    Anne Montenach is Professor of early modern history at the University of Aix-Marseille (France), member of UMR 7303 TELEMMe (AMU-CNRS) and general editor, with Deborah Simonton, of The Cultural History of Work (2018). Her research focuses on women’s roles in the early modern economy.