Emanuele C. Colombo

From inalienable possessions to market. The ricettizie churches in early modern Reggio and Motta San Giovanni

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Commons; Spiritualization; Useful Domain; Locality; Ricettizie.

The article deals with the ricettizie churches of early modern Reggio Calabria and Motta San Giovanni, especially focusing on management of large areas of common property. It starts from a trivial observation, but more timely than ever: many of the lands and houses of a little village near Reggio, Cambareri, still formally belong to one of these institutions, the Dittereale church of Santa Caterina, as evidenced by the Land Registry in force. Nevertheless, the utilisti have a property that one could easily define as exclusive on these plots of lands. This consideration led to the analysis of an extraordinary factory of individual rights such as the Calabrian ricettizia, granting a number of rights (in particular, that of citizenship) to a large amount of groups and people. We may imagine them as Commons able to make persons belonging to a place, so truly founding a principle of locality. This civic value is explicitly defined by jurists as «lay», as goods owned by a ricettizia were never passed through a spiritualization process. Commons and ricettizie are secular in essentiam. On the other hand, the ricettizie were stimulating complex games around properties. Behind the shield of eminent domain and local belonging, the rights of useful domain are tradable in various ways, firstly by families of the participating priests. The ostensible unseizability seems indeed facilitate these exchanges, which must be analyzed certainly not by resorting to a classical and rigid model of market, but by analyzing other means of exchange (such as usurpations, which fully fall in a commercial logic).

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