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Josef Ehmer: Worlds of Mobility: Migration Patterns of Viennese Artisans in the Eighteenth Century [1997]. [Abstract] [Article in English]

This chapter stresses the significance of mobility in defining early modern crafts and trades. It emphasises how the close interconnection between the spatial stability of some groups of artisans and the spatial mobility of others challenges any notion of immobility in pre-industrial societies. The chapter is based on the rich collections of the city and guild archives of Vienna, which was by far the largest and most rapidly growing municipality in German-speaking Central Europe in the eighteenth century. These sources provide quantitative and qualitative evidence for the variety and density of rural-urban migratory relations; the huge differences between the migration patterns of occupational groups; the impact of guilds and transnational families, and for the crucial importance of the life course. These issues are framed by a discussion of the economic logics and functions of artisanal migration, the complex structures of transregional artisanal labour markets, and the institutional and cultural backbone of the numerically most important type of migration, namely the journeymen’s tramping system. Omitted from this reprint for reasons of space is a paragraph on the Viennese guild system from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, which shows the complex interrelationship between local traditions, the Habsburg authorities, and the transregional guild system of the Holy Roman Empire.

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