This project focuses on the identity of entails as a corporate body throughout generations, standing above the human agents it encompassed, weighing against the administrators’ limited powers. Such existence was possible because of the entails’ institutional nature, but it also depended on specific cultural, religious, and spatial identities (archives, coats of arms, names, narratives, places, the social projection of members, specific economic behaviors).
The objective will be to define the meaning, the means and the functioning of corporate identity: did it mean closure and individualism, or rather practices of public social distinction and community insertion? What balance was there between the capacity for internal self-regulation and litigation practices, using external authorities? How did this identity foster the keeping and use of archives and written management? Above all, how was socially constructed the central figure of the founder, identity giver and maker?
The signals of such identities will be identified from among the entails in the database and categorized. Research will focus on the one hand on the semantic of entail institution documents, and on the other on the serialization, and later type-configuration, of the entailment signs and symbols. Drawing from the most complete case studies, indexed items will be analyzed as to their actual functioning. The perspective of anthropological history will be especially useful here, so as to apprehend from the sources the traces needed for analysis and to provide them with correct interpretations.