By Tess Knighton
Yesterday Ascensión and I attended an interesting talk (part of the Diàleg d’Història Urbana i Patrimoni series at the Museu d’Història de Barcelona) given by Carolina Obradors (European University Institute) with the title ‘Els espais de la ciutadania. Viure com a ciudadà a la Barcelona del segle XV’. In fact, the chronological focus of the talk was the decades around 1400, and the analysis of the nature of Barcelona citizenship was based on two types of documents: ‘juraments de ciutadania’ (oath-takings) and ‘informacions o interrogatoris’, that is then questioning by the city council as to the residency and familial, neighbourly and professional ties of the person seeking a ‘carta de ciutadania’. The ‘carta’ was a formal document that brought with it certain tax exemptions as well as bearing witness to that person’s official status as a citizen of Barcelona. These documents, in addition to tracking the movements and location of people (including foreigners) wishing to become Barcelona citizens, provide some insight into spaces of social inclusion and exclusion in the city as well as the values esteemed by the community as regards the reputation of an individual. For example, it seems that participation in urban fiestas was an important factor in the granting of citizenship, and that anti-social behaviour–such as a young man singing loudly in the street at night–was detrimental to the cause of officially becoming a citizen.
TK 5 April 2016