Shaping the Officer. Communities and Practices of Accountability in Premodern Europe
Organisiert von María Ángeles Martín Romera (LMU Munich), Hannes Ziegler (GHI London)
Interactions between subjects and rulers have been studied in a wide range of historiographical approaches. Among them, the question of officers' accountability has been of particular interest as a fundamental field for the analysis of rule and authority in premodern Europe. While recent research has attributed to communities a more active role in defining these interactions, they are still mostly portrayed as reacting to inputs from above. Even in recent approaches on 'state-building from below' or in more specific concepts such as 'empowering interactions', local populations are depicted as either posing resistance or participating in an arena conceded to them.
Officers' accountability is the main focal point of our conference since it is a privileged field to analyse these phenomena. However, instead of thinking of communities as essentially reactive agents, we would like to look at how communities actively modelled the officers’ behaviour, shaped institutions – understood as including formal and informal practices –, and thus established both their own and the officers' actual scope of action. We are especially interested in the various ways local populations engaged in holding officers accountable, both through regular and extraordinary procedures as well as through everyday interactions with office holders.