Városi terek – társadalmi térhasználat. Az elemzés lehetőségei
Near and Far: Attempts to Reconstruct Late Medieval Lived Space
The beautiful maps of medieval Paris suggest that the city comprised a uniform whole: a homogeneous space adorned by streets, churches, colleges and palaces. Much of the information that is required to understand everyday life in the city, such as marketplaces, estates, parish churches or the distribution of commercial activities, however, remains hidden. A recently published atlas compensates for the scarcity of such information with numerous maps offering a better insight into the urban space of Paris. However, as it does not address the question of lived space, the individual maps are rarely compared and the collection does not go beyond thematically sorting city-level phenomena. The analyses of Parisian society provide descriptions of social layers, which categorise the population, but fail to relate the categories to the whole of the urban society. Examining the spatial dimension of networks can be a transitional solution for this problem. It is a relatively novel approach in the research of Parisian life as little has been done besides researching urban work and neighbourhood. Thus far few historians of lived spaces have turned their attention to the level of the individual. This raised the idea in a History of Paris seminar that each participant would focus on real lived spaces of medieval Parisians by examining the spatial dimensions of social relations in the different sources they specialise in. Naturally, this kind of empirical juxtaposition is not the ultimate solution for this question, however, it is expected to make a few initial steps in this emerging field.
The study in its original form was published in the 2007–08 issue of the Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de Paris et de l’Ile-de-France. Due to limited space, this present publication contains three of the five sections and summaries of the two omitted case studies. The written version was the result of a workshop conference on 19 May 2006, which was organised by Boris Bove within the framework of the History of Paris seminars held in connection with the IRHT (Institut de Recherche de l’Histoire des Textes, CNRS) and the LAMOP (Laboratoire de Médiévistique Occidentale, Université Sorbonne-Paris 1). The seminar launched in 1998 for researchers of the History of Paris to offer thematic lecture series focusing on broad concepts. In 2005–06, the theme of the seminar was relationships, networks and solidarity in the French capital.
From Social Topography to Social Space? Comments on the Late Medieval Social Structure of German Towns and the Possibility of Its Mapping
Surveying older and more recent German social topographical research, the study focuses on those methodological problems, research possibilities and directions, which are closely related to the social historical investigation of a late medieval urban society. First, tax registers are in the centre of the discussion: first and foremost, issues of how to handle them and how to evaluate the results of the analysis. It is important, since the relative state of wealth of the burghers that can be detected with the help of these tax registers suggest only limited information about the real incomes and actual living standard of the people who were behind the numbers in the registers. Therefore, the seemingly non-existent riches does not necessarily means the poverty of the given individuals. In addition, as a second step, one should have a closer look at the urban space itself in which these burghers owned their burgages and houses. The types of town books typical for the Baltic Sea area (especially for Lübeck and some of the neighbouring towns) allow us not only an insight into the properties of the citizens, but at the same time also provide us certain details concerning the building structures of these towns. The study also addresses the results of confronting classical social topography with the social-spatial phenomena that strengthen the social geographical mobility within urban societies.
Placing the different methods parallel to each other and using a critical approach to traditional research exclusively based on the analysis of the tax registers, the study suggests to look beyond the numbers and follow a wider perspective with an emphasis on the different social structural processes in order to grasp the actions and considerations of the social groups active in the urban space, and thus to gain a livelier social topographical picture about a given medieval urban community.
The Topography of Violence. Everyday Usage of Space in Fifteenth–Sixteenth-Century Criminal Cases in Paris
The paper examines the uses of urban space in fifteenth and early sixteenthcentury Paris, based on the analysis of ninety pardon letters, surviving mainly from the JJ series of the Archives Nationales in Paris. These documents contain brief narratives describing the adventures of petty thieves as well as simple craftsmen guilty of manslaughter and bloodshed. These criminals’ stories contain many details on space: mentions of the domicile, the place of work, and, very frequently, descriptions of the places of sociability, that is taverns, streets and playgrounds.
The first analytical layer of the study delineates the possible limits of the protagonists’ space of activity was drawn, inserting the phenomena within the wider problem of urban neighbourhood (quartier, voisinage). The concrete movements located on the map show a rather flexible space of work within the city, but quite a narrow space of urban sociability, with the criminal artisans frequenting only the nearby taverns.
A special theme seems to emerge from the background of these findings, namely the spatial practices of the youth’s sociability, which is the second layer of the analysis. Twenty-two stories are narrated by young perpetrators whose cases present recurrent and specific motifs: organised, collective, often nighttime tours on urban streets, with longer trajectories than the short walks of the adults. Young people often leave the city and look for leisure at the suburban taverns surrounding Paris.
In summary, the study draws a larger context of spatial practices and representations around the picture that emerges from the individual itineraries narrated in a peculiar type of source material on late medieval Paris.
The Topography of Trade. The Spatial Realms of Merchants in Late Medieval Buda
On the basis of Henri Lefebvre’s basic suggestion that space is a social production, many scholars have already described the city of late medieval Europe as “a spatial being, not just a creation in space but also a creation of space,” and stated that “the space of the medieval city was itself re-divided, imagined and lived as a collection of distinct spaces.” On the other hand, “the urban space was a reflection of the needs of merchants and of the artisans primarily, and may thus well be considered as a very close expression of the economic organization.” Consequently, as a result of a two-sided process the social topography of a given town was partially shaped by the size, the economic profile and the importance of trade in that community. However, the overall urban inner control of communal life (and its possible changes in time) to some extent also influenced the development and types of realms, and the social groups that occupied each of these realms. At the same time, such late medieval urban communities are also composed of individuals whose perception and use of space and their position within the space are dependent on their own personal circumstances and viewpoint.
The paper investigates the above issues in late medieval Pressburg (Pozsony, Posonium, the present-day Bratislava), an important royal town of the Kingdom of Hungary. After the reconstruction of the mid-fifteenth century burgagesystem of the inner town, as well as the analysis of the tax-registers and the other surviving source material, the social topographical shots of the town was prepared in four temporal cross-sections. On one hand, this analysis served as a background to present individuals and their realms through the reconstruction of general social topography; the ways in which individual spaces of certain prominent burghers correspond to, or are determined by the space of a (occupational, economic or political) social group; and how this reconstruction helps to gain more knowledge about individuals when the sources are silent about their backgrounds. On the other hand, it was also investigated what the detectable spatial elements of social mobility within the community are and to what extent the land ownership within and outside the town (in the suburbs) provides a pattern of ownership.
The Topography of Election. The Usage of Space During the Electoral Campaign of the Parlamentary Election in Pest 1878
Focusing on the 1878 parliamentary elections in Pest, the study examines the characteristics of the participants’ use of space from the selection of the candidates, through the electoral campaign events, and finally, during the election itself. It also addresses the physical distribution of election movements in the urban space, and the prevalence of using public, semi-public, and private spaces in election-related events.
The election campaigns necessitated that the candidates make themselves seen in public spaces. Their primary means were posters calling to campaign events, flags distributed by committed supporters, and marches from busy squares across the constituency. Up until the threshold of the polling booth, even the ’masses’ that had no right to vote influenced the selection and support of candidates to some extent, however, in the booths the election was solely in the hands of actual voters. This, however, required substantial efforts both on behalf of the authorities and the parties that participated in controlling the use of space.
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