The topography of medieval popular protest

Cohn, S. (2019) The topography of medieval popular protest. Social History, 44(4), pp. 389-411. (doi: 10.1080/03071022.2019.1655884)

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Assumptions about the topography of popular revolt have been essential in constructing sociological and historical models that demarcate a ‘pre-modern’ from the ‘modern’ period. In Charles Tilly’s words, the ‘repertoires of collective action’ before the mid-nineteenth century were ‘parochial, particular, and bifurcated’, while afterwards, they became ‘cosmopolitan, autonomous, and modular’ (2008). By relying on primary sources across the Italian peninsula, France, Flanders and Britain and for the early modern period across German-speaking regions into Russia, this article shows that the plethora of late medieval revolts were rarely, if ever, confined to a neighbourhood or bounded by local religious congregations or family ties. Instead, they were citywide and north of the Alps fused alliances with the peasantry and other cities. With popular protest pushing eastward in the early modern period, these long-distant dimensions became more extensive, crossing linguistic boundaries and thousands of kilometres. In addition, this article raises new questions, such as why peasants and urban rebels in Italy, in contrast to northern Europe, resisted cross-mural alliances, and to what extent late medieval popular insurrection differed from those of the early modern period. The article ends with a call for new models to understand these differences.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Research for this paper was supported in part by an Arts and Humanities Small Research Grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cohn, Professor Samuel
Authors: Cohn, S.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Social History
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1470-1200
Published Online:17 October 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in Social History 44(4):389-411
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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