This is a study of noblewomen in twelfth-century England and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. It draws on a mix of evidence to offer a reconceptualization of women's role in aristocratic society, and in doing so suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high Middle Ages. The book considers a wide range of literary sources—such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records—to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. It asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of these aristocratic women, thereby demonstrating that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.

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hinterland.11 Crucially, popular opinion in favour of more severe action against witches was never so widespread nor so vehemently articulated – even during years of hardship – that the council felt obliged to accede to it.12 The Rothenburg evidence thus suggests that those areas most likely to be characterised by a restrained pattern of witch-trials in early modern Germany were those in which a significant majority of the ruling elites came to realise that the social, economic and political stability of their territories was likely to be damaged rather than strengthened

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany

resistance’. Indeed, a leadership totalitarian in character and without the control of society cannot be changed from below, but it has turned out that for this purpose external interference is not at all necessary; change in the political regime and all systems of social relations can take place from above, if the political and economic elite, having been gradually reconstituted, takes on this task. Radical changes in the political and economical structure of the state, effected by the ruling elite in correspondence with its new system of values, are possible precisely in

in Potentials of disorder

north-west Europe, with England as the paradigm case, enjoying small but cumulative growth in advance of a stagnant south and east long before industrialisation. Recent research, including some of my own, is then used to trace how these interpretations suffer from an overly economistic theoretical frame and overlook the ways in which both the ruling elite and working people used the possibilities implicit in the shifting tectonic plates of production and reproduction to their own advantage. Women’s roles were not cast in stone, but nor did they adapt smoothly to the

in Making work more equal
State–society relations and conflict in post-socialist Transcaucasia

literature, dating back to Max Weber, it is clear that the very character of patrimonial administrative structures, vesting power in persons more than in rules or offices, unavoidably weakens state capacity. Resources tend to be diverted to members of the ruling elite. Thus the tacit privatisation of the state, which ended in the total destruction of the very notion of public interest, had already started under communism. The fragmentation of power structures, so characteristic of post-socialist Transcaucasia, can be explained as the logical result of socialist techniques of

in Potentials of disorder
Israel and a Palestinian state

of the ruling elite within his dominant party, Fatah , and within the larger Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) ( Rubin, 1999 : 4–26; Robinson, 1997a : 177–88). However, Arafat is over 70 and at times ailing. He has not formally designated a successor. And, although the likely contenders for power after Arafat are within the ruling elite of Fatah and the executive committee of the PLO

in Redefining security in the Middle East

either killed, put in jail, or disciplined’, wrote the war reporter, Vladimir Jovanovic (1995). However, not all ‘special troops’ suffered the same fate. Only ‘those paramilitaries disloyal to the ruling elite were caught by a wave of never solved murders’. Cooperative special troop leaders continued to participate in the fighting, and were occasionally redeployed for ‘special tasks’ such as ethnic cleansing or to break the ‘remnants of the democratic opposition and independent media’ (Jovanovic 1995). Concerning Herceg-Bosna the elimination of Bla Kraljevic, the leader

in Potentials of disorder

challenging the status quo to national security specialists – pragmatic generals, technocrats and intelligence operatives – obsessed with stability. (2) Executive centres were institutionalised and ruling elites became more cohesive. While oil patronage reinforced the solidarity of large extended ruling families in the monarchies, in the republics, years of intra-elite factional conflict were overcome by the emergence of dominant leaders ensconced in virtual ‘presidential monarchies’ endowed with cults of personality. Crucial to this was the use of

in The international politics of the Middle East
A dialogue with Islam as a pattern of conflict resolution and a security approach vis-à-vis Islamism

, Islamism matters in the first place as an alternative political order envisioned by the Islamists as counter-elites opposed to the ruling elites. To be sure, in considering the professed commitment to democracy, this is not to suggest that the ruling elites in the Maghreb, or in any other part of the world of Islam, are more democratic than the challenging Islamist counter-elites. Religious fundamentalism as

in Redefining security in the Middle East
Open Access (free)
Witchcraft and the symbolics of hierarchy in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Finland

of the ruling group. But equally, it might serve as a vehicle for criticism and complaint, thus providing a valuable opportunity for malcontents to vent their dissatisfaction with, and opposition to, the ruling élite.33 16 Beyond the witch trials As Stuart Clark puts it, ‘witchcraft was constituted by an act of revolt’, and represented the opposite of perfect government.34 In some European laws, including the Swedish Rural Law of 1442, witchcraft appeared among the statutes against treason (högmålabalken).35 Vidskepelse was considered as inversionary as

in Beyond the witch trials