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.

Open Access (free)

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
Open Access (free)
Why might history matter for development policy?

elite perceives its objectives and its constraints. The strong concern about inequality, especially spatial inequality, in China goes back to well before the communist era. It is rooted in the history of an empire with fissiparous tendencies, requiring force and suasion in equal measure to keep provinces from breaking away. It is that concern which is reflected in generations of Chinese rulers, right up to the present ruling elite of the Communist party. But, again, what is the transmission mechanism from the sensibilities acquired by the rules of the Qing Empire in

in History, historians and development policy

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
Open Access (free)
The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62

In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.

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