How_Normative_were_Merchant_Manuals_Of_C

How_Normative_were_Merchant_Manuals_Of_C - Dave De...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
154 Dave De ruysscher HOW NORMATIVE WERE MERCHANT GUIDEBOOKS? OF CUSTOMS, PRACTICES AND… GOOD ADVICE (ANTWERP, SIXTEENTH CENTURY) 1. Introduction Trade instruction books of the later Middle Ages and early modern period have attracted much attention. Since the publication of the comprehensive bibliography by Pierre Jeannin, Jochen Hoock and Wolfgang Kaiser in 2001, 1 late medieval and early modern professional literature for an audience of merchants has become more accessible, and these works of the ars mercatoria have been cited more often in historical studies. Over recent years, the question has been raised as to whether these merchant manuals, which are in and of themselves a diffuse category, not only reflected but also prescribed behaviour. In response, the instructional contents of these guidebooks have mostly been identified as touching upon trustworthiness and professional standards that were closely linked to virtues, values, self-esteem and a sense of belonging. 2 What the relationship was between merchant manuals and law, however, has been asked less often. 3 Yet this problem deserves more attention. The nature of norms in late medieval and early modern commerce is still very much debated among economic and legal historians. A keen but implicit point in the discussions is the dividing line between practices and (facilitating and restricting) institutions, 1 Jochen Hoock, Pierre Jeannin and Wolfgang Kaiser (eds.), Ars Mercatoria: Handbücher und Traktate für den Gebrauch des Kaufmanns. Manuels et traités à l’usage des marchands, 1470 1820: Eine analytische Bibliographie in 6 Bänden , 4 vols. (Paderborn : Schöningh , 1991–2001). 2 Without presuming exhaustivity, one can think of publications by Nathalie Zemon Davies, Pierre Jeannin and Jochen Hoock. See also Jaume Aurell, “Reading Renaissance Merchants’ Handbooks: Confronting Professional Ethics and Social Identity,” in Josef Ehmer and Catharina Lis (eds.), The Idea of Work in Europe from Antiquity to Modern Times (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), 71–90 (instructional literature conferred a sense of belonging to a group of professional merchants, and it contained corresponding standards and ethics); Jeroen Puttevils, The Ascent of Merchants from the Southern Low Countries: from Antwerp to Europe, 1480–1585 (PhD thesis, University of Antwerp, 2012), 171–184 (merchant manuals listed conventions concerning mutual trust). On the importance of trust in business relations, see also the chapter by Ricardo Court in this volume. 3 Drawing a link between guidebooks on bookkeeping and canon law, in particular usury legislation, are James Aho, Confession And Bookkeeping: The Religious, Moral, And Rhetorical Roots of Modern Accounting (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005) (stressing the rhetorical use of double-entry bookkeeping and manuals concerning it, in order to justify credit against the background of ecclesiastical usury laws); Bruce G. Carruthers and Wendy Nelson Espeland, “Accounting for Rationality: Double-Entry Bookkeeping and the Rhetoric of Economic Rationality,”
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern