Venice - Tales of Displacement and Space Invaders

Stouraiti, Anastasia. 2023. Venice - Tales of Displacement and Space Invaders. Quaderni della Rivista Storica Italiana - Twelve Cities – One Sea: Early Modern Mediterranean Port Cities and Their Inhabitants, pp. 209-224. ISSN 0035-7073 [Article]

Tarantino-Giovanni-and-von-Wyss-Giacosa-Paola-ed-2023-Twelve-Cities-One-Sea.pdf - Published Version

Download (5MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This article reexamines the image of early modern Venice as a melting pot, a metaphor that still holds sway in current historiography. Standard accounts of the city as a cosmopolitan hub have all too often confused descriptive with normative notions of cosmopolitanism, mistaking the de facto ethnic and religious heterogeneity of its population for a fusion of different ethnicities and cultures. In so doing, they have focused on cross-cultural connections but have overlooked key aspects of displacement and migration: discrimination, coercive external categorisations and institutional violence. The present article suggests an alternative approach that does not reduce mobility and urban history to empirical topics but treats them as critical lenses through which to unsettle the romanticised ideal of ‘Venetian cosmopolitanism’ and the larger histories of imperial worldmaking in which it was embedded. In placing migrants and non-migrants in the same analytical field, the article moreover argues that the bureaucratic inclusion of subaltern residents in the policing of foreigners was part of a wider process of rationalising governmentality and entrenching patrician control over domestic society.

Item Type:



Venice, migration, port cities, empire, governmentality

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



1 August 2023Accepted
30 October 2023Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2023 10:26

Last Modified:

02 Nov 2023 15:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)