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Author: John Walter

Early modern England was marked by profound changes in economy, society, politics and religion. It is widely believed that the poverty and discontent which these changes often caused resulted in major rebellion and frequent 'riots'. This book argues for the inherently political nature of popular protest through a series of studies of acts of collective protest, up to and including the English Revolution. Authority was always the first historian of popular protest. Explaining the complex relationship between the poor and their governors, the book overviews popular attitudes to the law and the proper exercise of authority in early modern England. A detailed reconstruction of events centring on grain riots in the Essex port of Maldon in the crisis of 1629 is then presented. Urbanisation, regional specialisation and market integration were the larger changes against which disorder was directed between 1585 and 1649. The book discusses the 'four Ps', population growth, price rise, poverty and protest, explaining their connection with population explosion to poverty and protest. The major European revolts of the so-called 'Oxfordshire rising' are then analysed. Popular politics might deploy 'weapons of the weak' in a form of everyday politics that was less dramatic but more continuous than 'riot'. On the very eve of the Civil War, large crowds, with underemployed clothworkers, attacked and plundered the houses of local Catholics and proto-royalists among the nobility and gentry. In a culture that proscribed protest and prescribed obedience, public transcripts could be used to legitimise a popular political agency.

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Sarah Cooper

12 The graffiti cats of Paris in Chats perchés 13 Collective protest in Chats perchés

in Chris Marker
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Reconstructing popular political culture in early modern England
John Walter

background noise, needed little explanation. Collective protest was both a reflection of the impact of largely social and economic change and an expression of the political powerlessness of the victims of those and other political and religious changes. Because they spent most of their time struggling to secure their subsistence, the commons lacked political knowledge, and their participation in the public affairs of the kingdom was slight. For most of the people most of the time, political matters scarcely existed. At best, ‘when starvation threatened, the poor were capable

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
John Walter

knowledge of the delicacy with which the authorities might handle popular grievances in the crisis of harvest failure. If prosecuted, there is no guarantee that the formalising process of legal indictment may have produced evidence recognisable to the researcher as a food riot. Only the chance survival of other records reveals that the indictment of a man and woman for theft of grain on the highway in Somerset in 1630 relates to an action of a crowd over a hundred strong. A recent definition of collective protest by counting of heads (ten or more people) would have

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Heloise Brown

, he argued, ‘has no other source than the law of the strongest’. He disputed the argument that ‘the rule of men over women . . . [is not] a rule of force’, by citing cases when women had individually or collectively protested against male laws, and been ignored.5 14 the physical force objection Mill held that women were physically weaker than men, yet, as Susan Mendus has argued, he did little to relate his claims to the realities of (particularly working-class) men and women’s lives. He saw in history a slow march of human progress, from the abandonment of the

in ‘The truest form of patriotism’
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Popular culture and popular protest in early modern England
John Walter

collective disorder.3 At best, authority’s reaction to disorder might show an awareness of at least the immediate causes of discontent, though, even here, such reports would continue to talk of such actions as disorder, denying legitimation to the protest. This is best represented in the reports of provincial authorities, though its most subtle exposition comes from a representative of the centre, Francis Bacon’s Essay of Seditions and Troubles. A reading of the evidence of collective protest which pays insufficient attention to these limitations, helps to explain the

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Open Access (free)
La gauche de la gauche
Jim Wolfreys

both left and right is symptomatic of the growing divide between political parties and society. This in turn explains the attraction of the diverse components of the social movement. These currents are neither ‘post-material’ nor can they be described as simply a ‘new citizenship movement’. What we are witnessing is a revival of collective protest at social inequality which is reconfiguring the relationship between a burgeoning associative network, the labour movement and the political left. But it remains a movement whose own lack of political and organisational

in The French party system
Volker M. Heins

and dimensions of mutual recognition can be demonstrated by exploring the case of the civil rights and black liberation movement in the United States after the Second World War. The two figures of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X epitomize two different strategies of connecting experiences of disenfranchisement, feelings of shame, and collective protest and self

in Recognition and Global Politics
Scott Soo

regulated by a combination of the local authorities’ determination, the degree of Francoist compliance at the border, the will of the refugees and often the solidarity of local authority figures. Some locally elected representatives, perhaps only a minority but a significant one nonetheless, acted positively on behalf of the Spanish republicans. What became known as ‘the affair of Port-Sainte-Marie’ in the Lot-et-Garonne is illustrative of how repatriations could be subverted through a combination of collective protest and local solidarity. On 19 April, just over two

in The routes to exile
Real and imagined boundaries between metropole and empire in 1920s Marseilles
Yaël Simpson Fletcher

, however, labour conflicts. One reporter described how the Annamite workers, the so-called ‘French of Asia’, arrived at the exposition site demanding the same eight-hour day enjoyed by metropolitan French workers since 1919. The architect in charge admitted the workers’ ‘right’ to labour only eight hours but threatened to send back anyone who exercised the right. 42 Collective protest may have been suppressed, but individual Indochinese workers continued to argue with the authorities over wages, labour requirements and

in Imperial cities