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The historical sociology of politics as the study of people, power, and agency

Michael Braddick

The editors set out to show how groups not normally considered to be at the heart of national or dynastic politics, some of them quite humble, contributed to the development of the early modern state. In doing so, they prefer the term state-building to state formation because it better captures that sense of active agency. However, it may be that, without quite realising it, we have all become more interested in the sociology of political power than the history of the state (either as built or formed). If that is so, we could free ourselves from some discussions that seem more semantic than substantive, and also speak more clearly to present political concerns. While the position of the nation state is of course far from irrelevant to modern politics, there is an even more abiding concern about the relationship between political and other forms of power, and the extent of political agency in the face of apparently overwhelming collective challenges.

Max Weber, whose work continues to exercise an absolutely fundamental influence on the field, was writing at a time when the key institutional form of political power was the European nation state. He assumed that for people interested in politics the key institutionalised form of political power would be the state. The imprint of that concern is clear on the foundational texts in historical sociology down to the 1990s - Charles Tilly clearly, but also on Michael Mann, who to my mind has produced the most subtle and flexible account of these issues to date.1

By then, however, those interested in political power rather than the state were writing in a rather different way - an ethnography, often of face-to-face encounters, which deconstructed institutions and emphasised the pervasive cultural, discursive, and internalised structures of power relations: particularly evident in the influence of Foucault, Bourdieu, Goffman, and de Certeau. This has largely been expressed as a micro-historical perspective on the negotiation of power, and in recent years, many historians, including those in the present volume, have been preoccupied with the challenge of relating that to patterns of institutional development.2

In these opening comments, I set out a view of these issues which starts not with the state, but with the exercise of political power and its institutionalisation, patterns of agency, and path dependency. This is an Anglo-centric discussion, since it is in that context that I have worked out my views about these more general conceptual issues and from that perspective that I have read the broader literature. However, one of the great advantages of an analytic concern with the state was that it opened up a comparative historical discussion, and at the end of these comments, I turn more explicitly to the comparative value of the conceptual position I set out.

What I want to suggest is that many of these essays bear quite fruitfully on the analysis of the use of political power as a zone of contestation involving unequal social interests, and the conditions under which particular kinds of social interest prevail. This can also be the basis for a comparative history and sharpen our sense of the distinctive Nordic experience. What is lost by framing the essays that way is the focus on the state. We can though analyse patterns of institutional and jurisdictional development without the telos of the state. Path dependency in the pattern of institutions and jurisdiction is another way of exploring distinctiveness and of understanding that through comparison.

Starting from somewhere else: political power, people, interest and agency

The editors eschew the term state formation because of its implications for agency. The substantive issue is how plebeian (and often more socially elevated) agency shaped the development of institutions. In writing about these issues myself, I actually preferred the term state formation, explicitly as a way of understanding agency. My concern was to get beyond a preoccupation with the successful exercise of will by great men and to explore instead the ways interests based on class, gender, age, and ideological affiliation shaped the exercise of political power or were prevented from doing so. It was intended to be free of teleology: as I put in the conclusion of my book, I was tracing ‘Actions without design, patterns without blueprints.’ It was clearly about human action though:

We often read that the state did things and even sometimes that it wanted things, and yet the state is not something that can be touched or seen, let alone questioned about its motives. It is argued here that the state does not want or do things; people want the state to do things, and they have varying degrees of success in achieving their ends.3

State formation was not intended by me (or I think Charles Tilly, who really launched the term) to exclude the consideration of agency. For me, the distinction between state-building and state formation was between, say, the conscious institution building of Louis XIV and the patterned but unplanned development of political institutions I saw at work in England between 1550 and 1700. As the editors note, none of their actors refer to themselves as building the state, and so the existence of conscious purpose

The historical sociology of politics 25 and teleology is not the difference between our approaches: the difference seems semantic rather than substantive.

At the heart of Weber’s writing was not the state but an understanding of the distinctiveness of political power, and his definition has been of abiding significance. ‘Ultimately, one can define the modern state sociologically only in terms of the specific means peculiar to it, as to every political association, namely, the use of physical force.’ The state ‘claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.’4 These are of course very familiar words, but it is worth noting that they come in an essay on politics, not the state: Weber acknowledged that the modern state was the institutional structure within which politics as a vocation currently operated, but he made a more fundamental point about political power. The state, like all other political associations, was distinguished not by what it does, but how it does it.

Tilly’s essay in the volume that gave real currency to the term state formation was equally clear that the real analytic concern was with something more general than the state, or at least that the state was a particular form of something more pervasive. Noting that modern states were losing some of the features understood to be intrinsic to them, he wrote perhaps ‘we only begin to understand this momentous historical process—the formation of national states—when it begins to lose its universal significance. Perhaps, unknowing, we are writing obituaries for the state’.5 Tilly’s larger interest was to build up general historical accounts of political development from contextual analysis, which in this particular case might historicise the rise and fall of the nation state. In other writing, of course, he was more directly concerned with how states acquired the powers that they exercised, and the relationship between that power and other social interests.

Michael Mann’s study of the Sources of Social Power is particularly incisive on these latter issues. It traces political life over a wide geographic area over the very long run and was, therefore, concerned not with the state alone but with power. His starting point was the distinction between the power exercised collectively and that exercised by one person or group over another - the difference in his terms between collective and distributive power. It set out to understand their interplay in relation to four functional forms of social power over the very long-run: ideological, economic, military, and political. The state was not the object of his analysis but rather long-run patterns in the interaction between these forms of social power.6

My own book on State formation was fundamentally shaped by Mann’s ideas, and in retrospect, I think it was about the exercise of political power more than it was about state formation. I defined four functional challenges and traced how legitimate responses to those challenges were arrived at, describing four ‘crystallisations’ of power: the patriarchal state, the fiscal-military state, the confessional state, and the dynastic state. In each case, the legitimating languages, social interests at stake, and balance of central and local initiative varied, so that there was no single account ofthe English state, but rather a multifaceted account of the uses of political power, their institutional expression and the degree of ‘state autonomy’ from class interest. If I were to write that book again, I might be interested in other issues than relative autonomy, the relative importance of central and local initiative, the origins of bureaucracy, and functional effectiveness, but I think it is still useful to distinguish between functional areas of political activity: to study the sociology of the uses of political power rather than the state.

Legitimation, relative autonomy, and institutions

A second key feature of Weber’s comments of course is that it is not physical force that is distinctive to political power, but the legitimate use of the physical force. Legitimation is critical in understanding the relationship between social interests in addressing collective challenges.

English historiography in the 1980s was particularly concerned with the relationship between class and political power. A major revisionist effort was under way to unpick the Marxist interpretation of the English revolution, which was in effect a Marxist interpretation of the origins of the modern British state. The Marxist interpretation had been hugely influential in making a connection between the national story and ordinary lives, and between class and political change. From the 1970s onwards, it was under sustained assault as a way of explaining the origins and course of that revolution. Historians of the revolution turned more towards functional, ideological, and contingent explanations for the collapse of the Stuart monarchy, and its reconstitution as a constitutionally limited monarchy with considerable parliamentary power at its heart.' Meanwhile, historians who wanted to understand the world from below looked for the relationship between class and political power elsewhere, away from the national story in the politics of the household and village. Work by Wrightson and Walter, for example, which stimulated a generation of historians, can be seen as a way of understanding the connection between class and politics through a different lens.8

One source of autonomy in this relationship is the process of legitimation itself. The use of political power is legitimated with reference to commonly shared values - this says nothing about the real intentions of those promoting action, but it does make it necessary for them to make their action conform to commonly held understanding of those values. A monarch claiming to act justly is not necessarily actually trying to be just. However, by making this claim, s/he offers a means by which to evaluate their action since they cannot impose an understanding of justice on their subjects.9 Of course, people can refuse to accept the legitimation without being able to do anything much about it, and there is a long tradition of radical rejection of the claims of power. Nonetheless, in principle, the very act of legitimation makes it possible for political actors

The historical sociology of politics 'Ll to be embarrassed or ashamed and can be shown to act as a restraint on their action.

Historians of popular politics have emphasised this potential in studies of appropriation: classically in the English case in the study of grain riots. Crowds did not simply take food and did not attack persons, but, for example, halted shipments of grain, taking half for themselves and leaving half ‘for the Crown.’ That mirrored formal government intervention to prevent profiteering, in which seized grain was split equally between the local poor and the Crown. Crowds were in effect claiming to take action on behalf of the government, appropriating the languages of government and making a reality of the legitimating rhetoric of rule. This has been extended to face-to-face contexts, where officeholders’ personal honour and reputation was in play and where in order to sustain it they were forced to take account of the expectations of those they governed. Rumour and libel served as a restraint too - something difficult and embarrassing to confront, so confrontation was to be avoided if possible.10

Legitimate action is often institutionalised - successful patterns of legitimate action are made routine in the powers defined by office, law, and administrative order. Thus, a village constable had clearly agreed powers, which reflected a pattern of power settled in the past. It is here that we can reconnect this approach with the history of the state. Collective institutions act at various levels and are forms of political association - parishes, boroughs, and so on. The state is the overarching authority that makes this a single political system. In engaging with the collective institutions around them, people help shape/build/form the purposes and function of the state as a whole. That process of state formation, or state-building from below, is in this sense one element of a broader history of power, interest, and agency.

Institutionalisation is in itself a source of autonomy. The formal powers of institutions regulate the role of social interests by creating routine legitimate procedures which can be appropriated in the same way that influential political languages can be. For example, an important element of the regulation of these relationships, the institutionalisation of power, is the law, and there is a lot of work now on legal consciousness in early modern England. Many studies have shown that through the appeal to custom, or law subordinate groups could use the formal constitutions of collective institutions to their advantage. The broader rules by which these institutions operated were also understood and exploited in these ways. For example, recent work has explored how petitions could be used, particularly from the 1640s onwards, to mobilise support for partisan positions, effectively creating a kind of public before which the legitimacy of political action could be questioned, or new forms of action legitimated." Here, we can see subordinate groups shaping the formal rules of government by using them - setting the terms on which future groups could also appeal to custom, law, or use the right to petition.

Rival or alternative institutional resources could be played off against one another too: local magistrates or local courts, for example, were a source of power in the face of tax collectors or military forces. We might call this triangulation, and it could work with legitimating languages too: the claims of paternalism off-set against those relating to the true religion, for example. It may be that the English civil war (1642-1646) increased the scope of this kind of agency - increasing the density of institutions and the diversity of languages of political legitimation and, therefore, the room to use one against another.

While I have set this out in terms of class relations, the same analytic approach can be applied to other forms of inequality. Over the long-run, there were multiple forms of inequality, creating a grid of power, not just a single pole. In one way, this meant that very few people were totally disempowered: individuals often had access to some helpful status - as a householder or godly neighbour if not as a landowner or a man, for example.12 And this empowerment can be traced both over the long-run and in the crisis of the civil war as women, young people, and religious dissidents, for example, were able to appropriate political languages and the operation of collective institutions, at least for some purposes, some of the time.

Finally, there were some uses of political power in which class is not so clearly in play, or not in play in the same way - fiscal-military, confessional, and colonial. Writing State formation now I would give greater emphasis to how class, gender, age, and race were at work in these contexts. Certainly none of them was actually free of class interest, but the class interests at stake were not the same as those at work in the poor law or the regulation of agrarian economy.13

How much autonomy is created by legitimation and institutionalisation is controversial, however. The process of legitimation and institutionalisation, along with the interplay of different languages of legitimation and the multiplicity of institutions, undoubtedly created some space between dominant class interest and political power. How far to push this argument is a matter of controversy in English historiography. Some of this seems to be as much a difference of perspective as of substance - an interest in the origins of the relative autonomy of political power leads to a different emphasis than an interest in the uses of political power in maintaining social inequality. However, historians’ primary interest in the uses of political power in safeguarding elite interest often reveals how that power was contested and not simply imposed.14

Much of the discussion centres on the appropriateness of the term ‘negotiation’ for what is being described. I am not convinced there is much disagreement about the realities of social relations - violence is seen as a part of negotiation in all sorts of contexts, and there are in all negotiations things which are not up for negotiation. Neither does negotiation have to result in success for the underdog to be called such. It is interesting in this context that work on tax riot, which clearly shows how popular protest fundamentally shaped the tax regime (a critical political issue in which agency might be thought to be significant), is not generally acknowledged in the literature

The historical sociology of politics 29 on popular politics and collective action: it does not appear, for example, in Wood’s general treatment of popular protest in early modern England.15 French social history at one time paid a lot of attention to tax rioting, but I think it is more or less true that George Bernard, Michael Bush, Richard Hoyle, and myself are the only English historians to have written extensively about tax resistance in the last four decades, and none of that work has really featured in more general analyses of plebeian agency.16 The explanation for that, I think, is a difference between a concern with class relations and how they were maintained by the state (in which taxation does not appear), and an analysis of the workings of state power (in which it does, revealing some degree of non-elite agency). The state appears in the social history of class relations insofar as it is an instrument of class domination, not as the object of analysis itself.17

The English revolution

As already noted, the historiography on the English revolution powerfully shaped how state formation was approached in the literature on England. A further response, as we have seen, was to look for a history of ordinary lives elsewhere. More recently, however, work on the English revolution has been reconnecting these concerns in new ways, through the sociology of communication. Historians have shown how wider publics were mobilised for war, and for political action, helping to shape the outcome.

In terms of the argument set out here, there was an accelerated process of political innovation, associated with the need to find legitimate ways to fight a war and establish peace. That involved political agents in finding legitimate ways to define political problems and the solution to them. In doing so, they used existing political languages in innovative ways or deployed new forms of political legitimation. Those actions were institutionalised in new ways, creating routine exercises of power which had not previously existed. And all this created new opportunities for agency which were not initially intended. It was an accelerated version of the longer processes of state formation - as effective responses to perceived political need were legitimated with more or less success, creating a constantly evolving linguistic and institutional environment.

This is not to say that the parish was not an important political arena during the revolutionary decades. In fact the parish was often a key battleground: in dealing with military and political demands or achieving religious purification, for example. The English revolution has a social history too, and we can understand English society through an understanding of its revolution. More than that though, the experience of revolution allows us to relate the social history of political power to the history of institutional development.18

To sum up: forms of legitimation and the institutional inheritance offer means by which individuals or groups exercise agency. They are the enabling environment within which individuals and collectives seek to controlover their social and material world. Some groups had much readier access to those resources than others, but access to them in early modern England was not exclusive. This perspective reveals common ground among historians by concentrating not on the state (or social relations) but on the relationship between political and other forms of social power, and considering the issue of agency. These relationships are regularised in collective institutions, but the focus is not the emergence/formation/building of one set of institutions (the state) so much as the broader process of negotiating power, interest, and agency. In one way, this is a plea for a political history written around the theme of agency, rather than of the history of current institutions and political identities, and without an insistence that it should be primarily about the state among all the political associations in our past.19

Shared and parallel histories

This has taken us a long way from state-building from below in Scandinavia but less far perhaps from many of the central themes of these essays. Some of these currents in English historiography will appear particular and insular, but others are familiar, and I think there are ways in which much of the whole field of study can be understood in these terms.

An anatomy of political power and its history might be sketched along the following lines. It can be understood both as the capacity to achieve something collectively and as something distributed unevenly across society, as a power relation. Most of political life involves the relationship between the two - the definition of collective challenges and the role of particular interests in shaping how those challenges are understood and acted upon, or not. In defining such challenges and responses to them, legitimating languages are critical and also a resource by which distributive power can be challenged: the process of legitimation creates opportunities for non-elite agency and is a source of the relative autonomy of political power. Such collective action is often institutionalised, establishing rules governing the use of collective power, and these institutions form a part of the enabling environment for future action. The way that languages and institutions are used in one situation sets the frame for future action - path dependency - and together they create (or fail to create) space in which particular individuals and groups exercise political agency.

On the basis of this anatomy, we could begin to sketch a comparative history concerned with shared but also parallel experiences. Nordic merchants, landowners, monarchs, women, plebeians, and apprentices faced similar difficulties, but in different immediate circumstances, using a different range of institutional and linguistic resources.

It is certainly possible to read some of the essays in this collection as explorations of the negotiation of political power and its legitimacy, as much as analyses of the formation or building of the state. Dorum argues that the political revolution in Norway in 1814 began as a revolution from

The historical sociology of politics 31 above - a nationwide rebellion against Sweden - initiated by the Danish prince - Christian Frederick - and supported by the king and government in Copenhagen. It aimed to prevent the fulfilment of the peace treaty signed in Kiel, guaranteed by Russia and Britain, where the kingdom of Denmark had to relinquish its old province Norway to Sweden. However, the old regime could not restore absolutism as first intended. The Norwegian revolution came to change direction completely when prominent Norwegians imposed a radical constitution in 1814 based on classical republicanism and a clearly articulated principle of popular sovereignty. The constitution did not come out of nowhere, however, and this experience shows how the prior acceptance of Danish rule should be understood to have been conditional - a legitimate set of relationships that required maintenance, not a settled and immutable political reality. This is perhaps more comfortably understood as an example of the negotiation of political power and jurisdiction than as a way of understanding whether states were formed and built, and from above, below, the middle, or within.

As a comparative history of the uses of political power, we might think about how the same, or similar, functional challenges were met in different places - how differing linguistic and institutional resources shaped how the problem was understood and acted upon. Thus, Griesse and Rdnnqvist explore how differential power was regulated and tyranny avoided, unpicking how a broader European tradition was received and interpreted in a particular context and what produced those local particularities. Similarly, Koefoed shows how a broader European ambition to use political power to support patriarchal order was expressed through distinct local institutions -the tug and workhouses. The problem of unruly households and the aspiration to use political power to address it was common to much of Europe, but this was a quite distinctive response to it. The pressure for military reform following the widespread adoption of gunpowder weapons was also felt across Europe but, as Skoog shows, in Sweden was expressed in a system of conscription run by peasant elites - those who had previously dominated the militias, displaying personal honour and martial prowess through personal service, now managed the process of mobilising men. This enabled conscription, which in England was widely resisted.

Alternatively, we might think how Scandinavia faced challenges that England did not, or vice versa, either because of their ‘real’ situation, or because of the differing dynamics of their political cultures. So, the rejection by peasants of Swedish lordship in favour of the authority of the Russian tsar, traced by Nauman, reveals how cracks in the scope of executive power created opportunities for agency which did not exist, for example, in the securely integrated territory of England. It is possible though that there are parallels with the behaviour of the Irish during the 17th-century crises - feeling with no little justification that Spanish rather than English hegemony would offer more plausible forms of good lordship. While the place of the church as a space in which the negotiation of political andsocial order rook place is a more general phenomenon, and the picture painted by Bjerkas reasonably familiar, the lack of fit between parochial and monarchical boundaries appears unusual by broader European standards: the particular agency enjoyed by clergy on the Russo-Swedish borders outlined by Merovuo, seems quite specific to those political systems.

Both possibilities - that similar challenges have different consequences in specific local conditions and that there are challenges specific to each unique locality - point up the importance of path dependencies. An earlier political settlement set the terms on which future challenges were met or opportunities grasped. In fact, it was true between constituent parts of the same kingdom. Backstrbm shows how peasants in Oldenburg could not negotiate military burdens in the same ways as other Danish subjects because they did not have representation in the Rigsdag. The pattern of representation of the four estates in Sweden, as is often noted, was in fact remarkably open by comparison with much of Europe, with profound implications for how agency was exercised - the institutional environment was far more enabling for such groups than their counterparts in much of the rest of Europe. Linnarsson shows how government strategies common to much of Europe - the imposition of customs duties and the use of tax farmers - were shaped by the institutional inheritance of Swedish towns. That fostered greater urban autonomy than is familiar to English historians, or at least an urban autonomy attached to a much stronger bargaining power. This seems true from an English perspective of the very considerable institutional power of guilds as set out by Muhrmann-Lund.

An important element of these shared and parallel experiences is the contrasting sociologies of the two (or more) systems. Thus, as everywhere in Europe, literacy became an instrument of governance, but as Njastad shows, its exact significance varied according to the social distribution of the relevant skills. Viitaniemi shows a very broad pattern of peasant participation in political life which contrasts quite sharply with the restriction of such participation in early modern England - the rise of the middling sort, both urban and rural, represented also a kind of social closure, as the limits of participation were more sharply demarcated. Clearer social differentiation in England appears to have affected the exercise of political power.

This bears on a larger question, and one perhaps that most historians ask in one way or another - who gets to use political power, for what purposes, and with what effect? Institutional or linguistic change is an opportunity not just for elites, but for others, and the advantage they take of institutional or linguistic change helps mould it. Most strikingly, for example, Andersson shows how the impact of changing patterns of military change offered a role to soldiers’ women, and the uses they made of that opportunity actually shaped the overall response to military change. Wirta’s essay shows that, as in other European examples, the Danish East India Company was enabled rather than directed by the crown, giving an opportunity to commercial interests to operate under royal protection. Scherp shows how

The historical sociology of politics 33 a desire for jurisdictional uniformity gave tenants and clergy in Angsd an opportunity to renegotiate their social position, whereas the Norwegian nobility, despite their social position, had a relatively limited political role as a result of the institutional settlement reached in the Danish Realms. As Opsahl argues, they can nonetheless be considered a noble class, albeit one relatively disempowered by broader European standards.

If we are interested in shared as well as parallel histories, of course, we would be interested to see not just how similar or parallel challenges were addressed in different ways, but also in ways that particular linguistic or institutional strategies were shared, copied, and adapted between political associations. Commonly cited examples of this in the English historiography are the deployment of the languages of humanism in the face of growing poverty in the 16th century or of the institutions of ‘Dutch finance’ after 1640 in the face of the unprecedented scale of military mobilisation during the civil war.20 We can see in many of these essays how Scandinavians imported ideas and schemes of action from abroad and domesticated them.

In effect, this is a comparative history centred on the uses of political power which focuses on function, not form: around collective challenges and opportunities, and who shaped the responses, in what ways, and with what outcomes. We might express this as the particularities of political culture, here understood as a language of legitimation and the institutions through which political action is enabled. Local languages comprise both a vocabulary (for example, of images, metaphors, rituals, assumptions, and performances which are the currency of political argument) and a grammar (the conventions governing how that vocabulary can be used appropriately). In using our native language we change it - redefining elements of vocabulary or changing our grammar.21 While much of the vocabulary of Scandinavian political culture drew on shared roots - ideas of Christian, honourable or ethical conduct, for example - local meanings developed through use, setting particular local limits on legitimation. The grammar was particular but elements of the vocabulary were recognisably shared.

The institutional inheritance in any particular place is distinctive in the same way - again probably as a variation on forms recognisable more generally, but empowering or disempowering in locally specific ways. That shapes the local responses to common or shared challenges, creating a form of path dependency. Some commentators note the danger that path dependency suggests a cage in which historical actors are trapped, and that there may be some tension between using the term and an interest in historical agency. Here, I find the (equally contested) notion of structuration quite helpful. The institutional environment is used just as language is used, and in using either we reproduce those languages and structures but also change them.22

All this is to say that the state is now so firmly ‘back in’ that it might in fact be hogging the conversation a bit. For many purposes, we might set aside the term state and talk instead about political power, institutions, languages, and agency, which is what we are often most interested in.

The state is a term for a particular form of political institution (or political association as Weber put it), and historians often disagree about which forms qualify. That is an important and interesting question, of course, but not the one that is most often in play in the literature to which this volume contributes. At the heart of that historiography lies discussion not so much about the origins of the state but the relationship between political/ institutional power and other forms of power, and the extent of popular and collective agency. These questions are of abiding importance, and a more explicit focus on them makes the relevance of much historical writing to contemporary life clearer: concerns about democratic deficits and collective threats such as climate change, disease, cybersecurity and privacy, for example, all pose these questions.

Such an approach frees us from considering overarching and rather stark, often binary, choices, some of which seem more semantic than substantive -state-building or state formation; those things seen from above, below, or within; achieved by coercion or bargain; and so on. Reading these essays, it seems that political power, and its institutionalisation, involved all of these things at least some of the time. None of the authors are really concerned with the origins of the state as a distinctive form of political association and there is no real consistency over what is meant by ‘below.’ What they really have in common is a concern with people, power, and agency, and how that played out in collective institutions of various kinds, and that, of course, is a question of pressing contemporary significance. Understood this way, these essays provide rich material for understanding both what was common, and what was distinctive, about the Scandinavian experience.


  • 1 Tilly (1975, 1992), Mann (1980).
  • 2 For example, Asch and Freist (2005).
  • 3 Braddick (2000), quotation at pp. 90-91.
  • 4 Weber (1991), pp. 77-78 (my emphasis).
  • 5 Quoted in Tilly (2011), p. 523.
  • 6 Mann (1980).
  • 7 Hill (1961), Stone (1972), Russell (1990), Morrill (1993).
  • 8 Wrightson (1982, 1996), Walter (2006).
  • 9 Skinner (1988), Beetham (1991), Barker (1990).
  • 10 Walter and Wrightson (1976), Walter (2009), Braddick (2016), Bellany (1994).
  • 11 Zaret (2000).
  • 12 Braddick and Walter (2001).
  • 13 Braddick (2000).
  • 14 Wood (2006a, 2006b), Hindle (2004), ch. 6.
  • 15 Wood (2002).
  • 16 Bernard (1986), Braddick (1996), Bush (1991), Hoyle (1998).
  • 17 Hindle (2000).
  • 18 Braddick (2008). For influential work on communication and mobilisation see Peacey (2013), Walter (1999, 2006, 2017).
  • 19 Braddick (forthcoming, 2021).

The historical sociology of politics 35

  • 20 Slack (1998), Scott (2003).
  • 21 Braddick (2005).
  • 22 Giddens (1984).


Asch, R. and Freist, D., (ed) (2005): Staatsbildung als Kultereller Prozess: Strukturwandel und Legitimation von Herrschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit, Köln: Böhlau Verlag.

Barker, R., (1990): Political Legitimacy and the State, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Beetham, D., (1991): The Legitimation of Power, London: Macmillan.

Bellany, A., (1994): ‘“Rayling Rymes and Vaunting Verse”: Libellous Politics in Early Stuart England, 1603-1628’, in Sharpe, K., Lake, P. (eds), Culture and Politics in Early Stuart England, Basingstoke: Macmillan: 285-310.

Bernard, G., (1986): War, Taxation and Rebellion in Early Tudor England: Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey and the Amicable Grant of 1525, London: Macmillan.

Braddick, M.J., (1996): The Nerves of State. Taxation and the Financing of the English State, 1558-1714, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Braddick, M.J., (2000): State Formation in Early Modern England, c. 1550-1700, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Braddick, M.J., (2005): 'State Formation and Political Culture in Elizabethan and Stuart England: Micro-Histories and Macro-Historical Change’, in Asch and Freist (2005): 69-90.

Braddick, M.J., (2016): ‘Face, Légitimaté et Identité Partisane dans la Négociation du Pouvoir de l’Etat en Angleterre (1558-1660)’, in Hermant, H. (ed), Le Pouvoir Contourné. Infléchir et Subvertir L'autorité a L’âge Moderne, Paris: Classique Garnier: 193-221.

Braddick, M., (2008): God’s Fury, England's Fire: A New History of the English Civil Wars, London: Allen Lane.

Braddick, M., (forthcoming, 2021), A Useful History of Britain. The Politics of Getting Things Done, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Braddick, MJ. and Walter, J., (ed) (2001): Negotiating Power in Early Modern Society. Order, Hierarchy and Subordination in Britain and Ireland, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bush, M., (1991): 'Tax Reform and Rebellion in Early Tudor England’, History, 76 (248): 379-400.

Giddens, A., (1984): The Constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Hill, C., (1961): The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714, London: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Hindle, S., (2000): The State and Social Change in Early Modern England, c. 1550-1640, London: Macmillan.

Hindle, S., (2004): On the Parish. The Micro-Politics of Poor Relief in Rural England, c. 1550-1750, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hoyle, R.W, (1998): 'Taxation and the Mid-Tudor Crisis’, Economic History Review, 2nd series, 51 (4): 649-75.

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Part II

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