Negotiating the Political in Northern European Urban Society, c.1400–c.1600

Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (ASMAR), Vol. 38

Negotiating the Political in Northern European Urban Society, c.1400–c.1600

Edited by Sheila Sweetinburgh
2013 | 212 + x pp. | 9 ills. | 978-0-86698-482-9 | Hardcover 6 x 9 in
MRTS 434 | $60 | €55

Negotiating the Political is a fascinating and wide-ranging collection of case studies on the creation of identity in late medieval and Renaissance urban society. At a time of far-reaching political, religious and social changes, towns were at the forefront of this transformation of European society, their citizens frequently engaged in the struggle for autonomy. When negotiating relationships with the Church, the Crown and within the town’s own competing constituencies, townsmen were able to manipulate factors such as time and space in their pursuit of honour, status, commemoration, reputation and power.

The resulting town studies are arranged thematically–the view from the inside; the view from the outside–being set within contemporary cultural developments. Thus the collection highlights the differing strategies and approaches employed by towns, seeing such variation as indicative of the importance of the particular within the study of European urban society. The introductory discussion explores overarching themes and cross-cultural similarities, and Professor Caroline Barron provides a masterly concluding essay. This volume is an exciting development that sheds fresh light on the history of northern European urban communities.