Diego Carnevale

History of an ordinary job. The art of the undertakers in Naples during the early modern period

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The article analyses the profession of undertaker in Naples between the mid-seventeenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Historiographical attention has been focused primarily on guild issues and the problem of cultural preconceptions, traditionally attributed to those who practiced that activity. This preconception was ascribed frequently to the category of "ignominious jobs", which entailed the subject to certain limitations of legal capacity. The purpose of this article is to show the groundlessness of this assimilation by reconstructing the institutional and socio-economic context in which the Neapolitan funeral operators acted, showing at the same time how they also managed to obtain a prominent social condition in some cases.

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