Ferrando, Francesca: Who was admitted to welfare? Inclusion and exclusion in the policies against beggary of the Magistrate of the poor of Genoa (XVI- XVII centuries).

Since its foundation in 1539, the Magistrate of the poor of the Republic of Genoa has to deal with the problem of choosing who help. Actually, Even if it had to face the scourges of poverty and beggary it had limited assets to invest in this struggle. Analysing the decrees and the normative documentation of the Magistrate, it will be possible to show the behaviour of the institution: there were some “worthy poor” who could help with alms and bread distributions and some “unworthy poor” who had to be punished. By comparing these documents with the arrest reports and bans we can show the policies of inclusion and exclusion of this welfare institution. Foreigners and strangers were seen as disturbing figures. A huge part of poor people who came from the countryside to Genoa during the famines and epidemics was often repressed and expelled out of the city’s walls. However, the citizenship was only one of the criteria: religion, gender and age of the postulants could make a difference in the choice between help or repression and secondly they also affected how they were helped. This paper aimed to analyse the welfare politics of the Magistrate of Genoa during the early modern age enlighten the idea of inclusion and exclusion implied by the division between worthy/unworthy poor. Through unpublished documents of this institution (for example decrees, bans, arrest reports) it will be possible to show which were the ideological criteria of the Magistrate and how it applied them to its activities.