Political culture in the Holy Roman Empire

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Kümin, Beat A. (2009)

This article reviews six essay collections and one monograph on late medieval and early modern political culture in the Holy Roman Empire. Following a general survey of historiographical trends and a discussion of the specific contributions of the works under review (covering topics from international relations, state formation and the role of language to representative assemblies and the exercise of power in towns and villages), it attempts a preliminary sketch of the basic parameters of pre-modern politics. Prominent insights include shifts in the balance between oral, ritual and written communication, the significance of informal bonds and the negotiated quality of developments at all levels of government. The conclusion assesses the potential of the ‘new’ political history and calls for renewed efforts to link discourses, representations and perceptions to the norms, structures and socio-economic conditions with which they interacted. \ud \ud
  • References (7)

    (eds.), Politische Redekultur in der Vormoderne. Die Oratorik europäischer Parlamente in Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit (Frankfurt, 2008).

    24 For the functions and significance of early modern petitions (and related sources like supplications and gravamina) cf. the series of essay collections edited by Cecilia Nubola and Andreas Würgler, e.g. Bittschriften und Gravamina: Politik, Verwaltung und Justiz in Europa (14.-18. Jahrhundert) (Berlin, 2005).

    25 V. Gröbner, Gefährliche Geschenke. Ritual, Politik und die Sprache der Korruption in der Eidgenossenschaft im späten Mittelalter und am Beginn der Neuzeit (Konstanz, 2000); D. W. Poeck, Rituale der Ratswahl. Zeichen und Zeremoniell der Ratssetzung in Europa (12.-18. Jahrhundert (Cologne, 2003); G. Althoff, Die Macht der Rituale: Symbolik und Herrschaft im Mittelalter (Darmstadt, 2003); B. Stollberg-Rilinger, 'Symbolische Kommunikation in der Vormoderne. Begriffe - Thesen - Forschungsperspektiven', Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, 31 (2004), pp. 489- 527.

    26 See the respective websites and e.g. Frevert and Haupt (eds.), Politikgeschichte; R. Schlögl and B. Giesen et al. (eds.), Die Wirklichkeit der Symbole. Grundlagen der Kommunikation in historischen und gegenwärtigen Gesellschaften (Constance, 2004); B. Stollberg-Rilinger and Th. Weller (eds.), Wertekonflikte - Deutungskonflikte (Münster, 2007).

    27 J. Andres, A. Geisthövel and M. Schwengelbeck (eds.), Die Sinnlichkeit der Macht: Herrschaft und Repräsentation seit der Frühen Neuzeit (Frankfurt a.M., 2005); Björn K. U. Weiler and Simon MacLean (eds.), Representations of Power in Medieval Germany 800-1500 (Turnhout, 2006).

    28 For the latter see Reinhard, 'Kultur'; T. Mergel, 'Überlegungen zu einer Kulturgeschichte der Politik', Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 28 (2002), pp. 574-606; Frevert and Haupt (eds.), Politikgeschichte; B. Stollberg-Rilinger (ed.), Was heißt Kulturgeschichte des Politischen? (Berlin, 2005); Schorn-Schütte, Politikforschung; Rödder, 'Theoriedebatten'. See also Gerd Schwerhoff's review article for H-Soz-uKult: http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/rezensionen/2006-4-021 (accessed 6/12/2007).

    29 One of the few notable gaps from a Germanic perspective is N. Furrer, Die vierzigsprachige Schweiz (Zurich, 2002).

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