The dynamics which made medieval economies evolve towards "modernity" have been the subject, for two decades, of new approaches to international markets and the manufacturing processes. Recent historiographical developments, in particular through the perspective of global history, have seen researchers develop interpretative models based on quantitative analysis, and lead investigations which favor the analysis of flows in geopolitical terms or consider them through anthropological and cultural methodologies. Another major development, which has come out of business history, approaches the study of organizations and institutions of the economy through comparative sociology. The findings of these diverse approaches have not yet been the object of a general discussion, one which confronts the methods, the sources and the hypotheses of research.
The objective of the Florence meeting will be to think afresh the sources relative to the European and Mediterranean economy of the 14th-16th centuries and to propose a plural approach which will address actors and their practices, material and immaterial flows, forms of organization and the markets. This congress, where the results of the collective investigation ANR ENPrESa on the Salviati archives (preserved in the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa) will be presented, intends to widen the lens to other archival collections, in order to grapple whith the common problems and issues arising from the exploitation of business documentation. From this perspective, the sources of business companies will be considered from two major points of view : the variety of models and practices of management and organization, and how to assess clues indicating the global evolutions of economies.
The various topics addressed at the conference will enable a confrontation with the results of investigations situated in specific times, geographies, and spaces that were diversified, constructed and articulated on markets. They will mainly focus on :
• The entrepreneurial structures and the modalities of action of companies dedicated to production, trade or banking activities.
• The action of « writing the activities » and the evolution of accounting practices.
• The functionalities of places, the hierarchical organization of merchandise flows and moneraty circulations, concentrating on questions regarding the articulation of geographical scales, operational spaces, and the measurement of time.
• The actors of industry and trade sectors : their positions in the company, their careers, their formation.
Presentations will be held in French, Italian or English. They will be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation in another language.