Opposing Patriarchy

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; this includes a radical overhaul to the nation's 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 this process by focusing on women’s attitudes towards the law and their interaction with the legal system. By analysing the law in action and women’s use of the law, the author seeks to recover the forgotten voices and lives of those ordinary women, who, in their everyday life, reacted against the limitations and constraints imposed upon them by society, and who refused to accept their status passively. 

The picture which emerges gives an alternative interpretation of the nineteenth-century image of women: the women of the period understood the law, questioned obedience, challenged authority and stood up for themselves. Even though they did not always achieve their goals, their actions contributed to shape our present.

Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                                 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