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Title: The scope of politics in early modern imperial systems : the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and Poland-Lithuania in the seventeenth century in comparison
Author: Preusse, Christian
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 5806
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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It is the aim of this thesis to shed light on and gain a more nuanced understanding of the negotiation of the political and constitutional order at the German Imperial Diet and the Polish-Lithuanian Sejm in the crisis-ridden seventeenth century. Both assemblies had to reach collectively-binding decisions on questions of institutional and procedural development in order to keep the constitutional order intact and functional and to process the challenges and changes occurring in the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. The question of this thesis is how the scope for necessary institutional and procedural adjustments was enabled or constrained by political languages and rhetoric which key actors used in the deliberations at the two central estate assemblies. Why do we have an institutional standstill and comparative decline in Poland-Lithuania until the reform period in the eighteenth century, and a stabilization and gradual institutional adjustment until the 1720s in the Holy Roman Empire? This question is answered by analyzing the communication about the scope of politics in its concrete historical context and institutional setting. Through the analysis the thesis comes to a new interpretation of the role and impact of orality and writing in both assemblies. Establishing socially relevant meaning depended on the means of communication and on the relationship between different media in the process of political decision-making and how they formed communication, in this case oral and written communication. The central claim of the thesis is that political culture and material culture were intricately linked in both imperial systems as the available media in the political process shaped the sayable, and the sayable shaped the doable.
Supervisor: Nowakowska, Natalia ; Evans, Robert J. W. Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Europe--Holy Roman Empire ; Poland-Lithuania ; Sejm ; early modern history ; Imperial Diet