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Title: Public opinion and seditious language from the Wars of the Roses to the Pilgrimage of Grace, c.1461-1537
Author: Correa, Wesley
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 8871
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Although the traditional divide between the late medieval and the early modern periods has increasingly been addressed by scholars, this arbitrary division has long dictated historical research and it has inevitably affected the way we study public opinion and seditious language. While late medievalists have increasingly acknowledged that public opinion was indeed significant in the late medieval period, they do not always agree about its workings, fluctuations, intensity, and most importantly about who mattered in the public arena. Early modernists have increasingly argued against the Habermasian 'public sphere' in order to establish that England experienced a dynamic public debate in the sixteenth century. This study interacts with both groups of scholars and approaches public opinion and seditious language by surveying a variety of sources that combines legal records, private and official correspondence, chronicles, proclamations, legislation, and other texts that were directly or indirectly related to the contemporary public opinion. To illustrate the workings of public opinion, the popular attacks against the hegemonic voices of the ruling elites, and the interaction of these two features, this thesis resorts to a combined theoretical framework to examine five broad features: the rhetorical references to 'the people' and 'the commons', and the stereotypes about them; the profound and instinctive nature of rumour-mongering; the patterns of seditious language; the continuities and shifts in popular discourses across the period; and the government's reactions and attempts to control all these different variants in the public realm. In other words, this study explores the workings of the communication system that underlay the interaction between rulers and ruled to explain how the tropes and discourses of the Wars of the Roses mostly remained in use and powerful during the early Reformation - and the extent to which some of these discourses shifted or intensified. Overall, this thesis argues that the continuities in how people criticised and reacted to crises throughout the period partly explain the peaks in records of complaint and rumour as well as provide significant insights into how government policy was more frequently reactive than proactive.
Supervisor: Watts, John Sponsor: CAPES Foundation - Ministry of Education of Brazil
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available