This book is dedicated to Susan Reynolds and celebrates the work of a scholar whose views have been central to reappraisals of the position of the laity in the Middle Ages. The themes and concerns include a medieval world in which the activity and attitudes of the laity are not obscured by ideas expressed more systematically in theoretical treatises by ecclesiastics; a world in which lay collective action and thought take centre stage. Reynolds has written her own Middle Ages, especially in her innovative book Kingdoms and Communities whose influence can be seen in so many of the essays. Collectivities, solidarities and collective action are everywhere in these essays, as Reynolds has shown us to expect them to be. Collective action was carried out often in pursuit of social peace, but it existed precisely because there was discord. Of the narratives and interpretative frameworks with which Reynolds's work has been concerned, the book has least to say directly on the debate over feudalism. The book engages many of the themes of Reynolds's work and pursues some of the issues which are prominent in re-examinations of the medieval world and in studies of the medieval laity. It discusses secular aristocratic attitudes towards judicial combat within the broader setting of fictional 'treason trials' of the later twelfth century. Although kinship did not start out as an explicit and overt theme of the book, it emerges as a leitmotiv, perhaps in part because when feudalism is removed, kinship is thrown into sharper relief.
An inquiry into the decline of pilgrimages and crusading
Charles T. Wood
When attempting to deepen our understanding of the Middle Ages, Susan Reynolds has frequently posed shrewdly penetrating questions, all of them designed to demonstrate the extent to which even cherished views often lack evidentiary support. She has enlarged on the point by further arguing that the most common reason for going astray – about the nature of lay solidarities and their collective activities, for example – lies in a thoughtless tendency to use historically inappropriate concepts when forming our interpretations of the past. She will permit no such
rules were deemed good for church and society on aggregate, but that good might be outweighed in individual cases by other goods, perhaps of a different sort, such as royal support for papal policies.
A conclusion about the surface or ‘legitimating’ rationality of the kinship rules imposed by the papacy on the laity may now be formulated. The rules were Zweckrational rather than Wertrational. They were a means of creating new social solidarities. However the means could sometimes frustrate the end. Then rules could be discarded by papal dispensation. Popes
Urban History in England’, Theoretische geschiedenis/ Historiography and Theory 19 (1992), 43–57; reprinted in eadem, Ideas and Solidarities of the Medieval Laity : England and Western Europe (Aldershot, 1995), p. 45.
2 S. and B. Webb, English Local Government , 10 volumes (London, 1906–29).
3 S. Reynolds, An Introduction to the History of English Medieval Towns (Oxford, 1977), p. 119.
4 S. Reynolds, The Rulers of London in the Twelfth Century’, History 57 (1972), 337–57, p. 339 and n.
5 H. W. C. Davis, ‘London Lands and Liberties of St Paul
Gerald de Barri and regnal solidarity in early thirteenth–century England
Susan Reynolds has put it, ‘the sense of two separate peoples of separate descents and customs survived well into the twelfth century’, by 1200 there had been a recovery of what she termed ‘regnal solidarity’. Indeed she has identified Magna Carta as ‘the classic statement of regnal solidarity against the king’. The barons of Magna Carta, we are told, ‘spoke – and presumably spoke more or less sincerely – on behalf of the community of the realm’. 2 No doubt, but were they really entitled to do this? If Gerald had meant – as prima facie he seems to have meant – that
Pauline Stafford, Janet L. Nelson and Jane Martindale
Susan Reynolds has written her own Middle Ages, especially in her innovative book Kingdoms and Communities whose influence can be seen in so many of the essays here. It is a world of overlapping communities or, as she would prefer it – eschewing the comfortable and comforting notions of harmony conjured up by that word – of ‘collectivities’ and ‘solidarities’. She has presented us with collective action as a spontaneous, ubiquitous and essential part of secular life. It was characteristic of every level of society and touched every sphere of life
propositions. Firstly, borrowing from O’Neill’s discussion of representing nature and future generations, it is argued that advocacy by interest groups for some constituencies simply cannot be pursued through representation style behaviour; it can only be pursued through a form of what is referred to here as ‘solidarity’. Secondly, in turn, it is argued that the legitimacy of solidarity style advocacy by groups does not require (indeed does not benefit from) internal democratic structures. That is, some interest group advocacy is founded on other – non-democratic – forms of
5217P GLOBAL JUSTICE-PT/lb.qxd
Geographies of transnational
solidaritySolidarity is not a matter of altruism. Solidarity comes from the
inability to tolerate the affront to our own integrity of passive
or active collaboration in the oppression of others, and from the
deep recognition of our most expansive self-interest. From the
recognition that, like it or not, our liberation is bound up with
that of every other being on the planet, and that politically,
spiritually, in our heart of hearts we know anything else is
Networks of solidarity
The London left and the 1984–85 miners’ strike
In March 1984 the majority of British miners walked out on strike against
the threat of widespread pit closures. Unlike the 1972 and 1974 coal disputes
during the previous Conservative government, this was to be a lengthy and
ultimately unsuccessful struggle, ending a year later with no agreement and
the National Coal Board’s Ian McGregor promising to teach miners ‘the
price of insubordination and insurrection’.1 Although many miners and their
families were undoubtedly
Friendship is solidarity: the Chinese ping-pong
team visits Africa in 1962*
There is great promise in these [Ghanaian] West African players and one day,
soon, they’ll make the table tennis world sit up and applaud.
Rong Guotuan, China’s first ping-pong world champion, following the
team’s visit to Africa in 1962.1
Many people today are aware of the so-called ‘ping-pong diplomacy’ that helped thaw
US–China relations in the early 1970s.2 Few know that the Chinese leadership already
had two decades of experience using sport