Historical Social Research

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Claire Judde de Larivière: The ‘Public’ and the ‘Private’ in Sixteenth-Century Venice: From Medieval Economy to Early Modern State [Abstract]

This article analyses the Venetian public galleys’ expeditions during the sixteenth century, as a case study for understanding the relationships between patricians and the State, and the way in which the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ roles were reorganized in the late Middle Ages. Going further the explanations usually given, the article tries to explain the decline of the public galleys, and emphasizes the symbolic, cultural, political and ideological factors that had also led to the abandonment of public navigation. It seeks to reintegrate economic considerations, practices, actions and actors into their social, political and ideological contexts, and thus avoids isolating economic phenomena and economic thinking from their political background. Doing so, it argues that the abandonment of public navigation in Venice was the corollary of the gradual differentiation between the State and the ruling class that was typical of the earliest stages of modernity.