Proposal preview

Coping with crisis: labor market, public policies and household economy. A comparative perspective on unequally industrialized regions from the mid-18th century to the interwar period (Mediterranean Europe, Central and Southern America)

Recent economic historiography completely reframed the narrative of the macroeconomic causes of crises. By reducing significantly the weight of agrarian crises and reinforcing that of financial and commercial crises, it allows us to understand the crises of the second half of the eighteenth century in line with those of the following centuries. Instead, the impact of crises at the micro analytical scale is much less known, as well as its consequences at the household economy level, the dominant production unit throughout the period considered here in most of the regions of Mediterranean Europe and Central and South America we would like to compare. Sharing the idea of a connection between crises and the different waves of globalization, the aim of this panel is to compare the effects of crises in regions with different levels of industrialization and to focus on the local institutional responses and the families’ adaptive strategies face to a radical change in their economic environment.
If we consider the crisis not as a simple reversal of the economic cycle, but as a moment of systemic change, where the economic assets are redefined by the social actors due to the impossibility for them to consider satisfactory the normal compensation mechanisms and the usual forms of redistribution operative within a given economic and social system, the importance of a micro-analytical approach in the study of this phenomenon becomes evident.
In this perspective, the whole range of the economic actors’ reactions is at the core of the analysis, including the ability to cope with changes by those who are at the bottom of the social ladder. In this respect feminist economists and development economists have insisted more recently on the differential effects of economic crises on gender relations. This change of perspective in observing the consequences of crisis helps to pay a renewed attention to the inner workings of household based economies and to the families’ ability to adapt to economic and systemic changes.

What is the impact of these crises on localized household economies? How do their dynamics contribute to construct, and deconstruct, the labor relations around them? In what way the social dynamic they create affects the relationships between men and women in the labor market on one side, and within the families on the other?
The purpose of this panel is to observe in a historical perspective how these socioeconomic mechanisms work in particular economic and social contexts. It would like to tackle in a long-term perspective the (proto)industrial production crises of the second half of the eighteenth, and of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries related to the globalization of trades and exchanges. But it also aims at studying the micro-systemic crises affecting specifically – because of changes in technology, energy sources, communication routes, etc. – economies and local labor market. The participation as discussants of scholars who specialize on other industrial regions – Asia, Northern Europe or North America – will address these issues in a global perspective.


  • Cristina Borderias, University of Barcelona,>,
  • Aurora Gómez Galvarriato, El Colegio de México, Mexico,',
  • Manuela Martini, University of Lyon 2, France,,

Session members

  • Yoshiko Yamamishi , University of Keio, Tokyo, Japan,
  • Raffaella Sarti, University of Urbino, Italy,
  • Francesca Sanna, University of Paris Diderot, France,
  • Juanjo Romero, University of Barcelona, Spain,
  • Cirila Quintero, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Campus Matamoros, Mexico,
  • Anne Montenach, University of Aix-Marseille, France,
  • Lina Gálvez Muñoz , University Pablo de Olavide, Spain,
  • Llorenç Ferrer, University of Barcelona, Spain,
  • Ida Fazio, University of Palermo, Italy,
  • Anna Bellavitis, University of Rouen, France,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Yvan Rousseau, UNiversity of Québec à Trois Rivières,