Opposing Patriarchy: Women and the Law in Action in Pre-Unification Italy (1815-1865)

Sara Delmedico
15 November 2021
229 × 152 mm
282 pp
Paperback: 978-0-85457-278-6
Shifts in state boundaries and socio-economic structures deeply affected the political landscape in nineteenth-century Italy, coinciding with changes to the legal system. The patriarchal, hierarchical and strict class stratification of society saw women redefining their sense of self and rethinking their identities beyond the traditional domestic roles of daughter, wife and mother. This volume charts the process and, by analysing the law in action and women’s interaction with it, recovers the forgotten voices and stories of ordinary women who, in their everyday lives, reacted against the limitations and constraints imposed upon them. The picture which emerges gives an alternative interpretation of the nineteenth-century image of women: they understood the law, questioned obedience, challenged authority and stood up for themselves. Though they did not always achieve their goals, their actions contributed to shaping our present.

Sara Delmedico holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. She has held the Luisa Selis Fellowship at the IMLR (University of London), an MHRA Fellowship at Cambridge, and a research residency at the British School at Rome. She is currently an Irish Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at University College Dublin.
Table of contents: 
Part 1: The Italian Peninsula in the Pre-Unification Period
Chapter 1: Building the Nation-State: Italian Society between old Prerogatives and Modernity                                 
Chapter 2: Ideals of Women in Men’s and Women’s Writings               
Chapter 3: Women and the Law in the Nineteenth-Century Italian Peninsula          

Part 2: Women and Marriage between Civil, Criminal and Canon Law: The Cases of the Kingdom of Sardinia and Lombardy-Venetia

Chapter 4: Women and Men beyond Marriage                                    
Chapter 5: Women, Marriage and the Transmission of Property      
Chapter 6: Ending Wedlock