cover of book

Law, Family, and Women: Toward a Legal Anthropology of Renaissance Italy
by Thomas Kuehn
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Cloth: 978-0-226-45762-8 | Paper: 978-0-226-45764-2 | eISBN: 978-0-226-45765-9
Library of Congress Classification KKH5601.15.K84 1991
Dewey Decimal Classification 349.4551

Focusing on Florence, Thomas Kuehn demonstrates the formative
influence of law on Italian society during the Renaissance,
especially in the spheres of family and women. Kuehn's use
of legal sources along with letters, diaries, and
contemporary accounts allows him to present a compelling
image of the social processes that affected the shape and
function of the law.

The numerous law courts of Italian city-states
constantly devised and revised statutes. Kuehn traces the
permutations of these laws, then examines their use by
Florentines to arbitrate conflict and regulate social
behavior regarding such issues as kinship, marriage,
business, inheritance, illlegitimacy, and gender. Ranging
from one man's embittered denunciation of his father to
another's reaction to his kinsmen's rejection of him as
illegitimate, Law, Family, and Women provides
fascinating evidence of the tensions riddling family life in
Renaissance Florence. Kuehn shows how these same tensions,
often articulated in and through the law, affected women. He
examines the role of the mundualdus—a male legal guardian
for women—in Florence, the control of fathers over their
married daughters, and issues of inheritance by and through
women. An ambitious attempt to reformulate the agenda of
Renaissance social history, Kuehn's work will be of value to
both legal anthropologists and social historians.

Thomas Kuehn is professor of history at Clemson

See other books on: Dispute resolution (Law) | Families | Florence | Renaissance Italy | Toward
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