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Spiritual Kinship, Political Mobilization and Social Cooperation: a Swiss Alpine valley in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
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Spiritual Kinship in Europe, 1500-1900
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Alfani G. Gourdon V.
In this chapter I will present some observations and results about Ritual Kinship and political mobilization of popular groups in an Alpine valley: the Val de Bagnes, in the Swiss canton of Valais, - a mountain valley, well known today thanks to the tourist station of Verbier - where we can rely on excellent sources about local families. This region presents a particular political situation, because the 11 major villages of the valley form only one commune, which includes the whole valley.¦There are two major reasons to choose the Val de Bagnes for our inquiry on kinship and social networks in a rural society:¦A. The existence of sharp political and social conflicts during the 18th and the 19th centuries;¦B. The existence of almost systematic genealogical data between 1700 and 1900. (Casanova, Gard, Perrenoud 2005-08)¦The 18th century was characterized by the struggle of an important part of the community of Bagnes against the feudal lord, the abbot of St-Maurice. The culminating point was a local upheaval in 1745 in Le Châble, during which the abbot was forced to sign several documents in accordance with the wishes of the rebels (Guzzi-Heeb 2007). In the 19th century feudal lordship was abolished, but now the struggle confronted a liberal-radical faction and the conservative majority in the commune.¦The starting point of my presentation focuses on this question: which role did spiritual kinship play in the political mobilization of popular groups and in the organization of competing factions? This question allows us to shed light on some utilizations and meanings of spiritual kinship in the local society. Was spiritual kinship a significant instrument for economic cooperation? Or was it a channel for privileged social contacts and transactions?
parenté spirituelle, réseaux sociaux, politique, conflit social, radicalisme, Alpes
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