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Gervase Rosser

. The rhetoric of urban government emphasised the ideal of unity under the crown: several town councils claimed that their respective city was ‘the king’s chamber’. 2 None the less, in whatever terms civic government presented itself as a unitary authority, power in the borough was always in practice refracted through a diversity of jurisdictions by which the hierarchical character of urban politics was

in Towns in medieval England
Selected sources
Author: Gervase Rosser

This book is the first collection of translated sources on towns in medieval England between 1100 and 1500. Drawing on a variety of written evidence for the significan and dynamic period, it provides an overview of English medieval urban history. Readers are invited to consider the challenges and opportunities presented by a wide range of sources. The merchant, for example, is seen from different angles - as an economic agent, as a religious patron and in Chaucer's fictional depiction. The prominence of London and the other major cities is reflected in the selection, but due attention is also given to a number of small market towns. Occasions of conflict are represented, as are examples of groups and societies which both contributed to and helped to contain the tensions within urban society. Changing indicators of wealth and poverty are considered, together with evidence for more complex questions concerning the quality of life in the medieval town. The book moves between the experience of urban life and contemporary perceptions of it - from domestic furnishings to legends of civic origins and plays in which townspeople enacted their own history.

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Authority and society in Nantes during the religious wars
Elizabeth C. Tingle

urban government. The royal policy of conciliation and toleration of Protestantism did not solve the problems of governance in Nantes. Rather, it jeopardised the crown’s legitimacy, for the contract that bound king to subjects required that he eliminate heresy and uphold the Catholic Church. Royal vacillation and indecision also made practical governance in the city more difficult. The result was irresolute government and outbursts of religious passions that went unpunished. A vacuum of authority appeared at city level. France descended into civil war as rival

in Authority and society in Nantes during the French wars of religion, 1559–98
J. A. Chandler

7 The slow road to ‘modernisation’ The inter-war years were dominated by a resurgent Conservative Party. Many of its members’ sympathies still lay, as regards local governance, on the Salisbury plain of a dual polity. However, fears that urban government might be captured by socialists and used to further ownership of the means of production compelled Conservatives to reluctantly interfere in local politics. Even Conservatives like Neville Chamberlain who sympathised with New Liberal values of equality of opportunity tempered their support for the larger

in Explaining local government
Peter Jones

to have grown at the expense of local activism that focused on urban government in particular. That long-standing voluntary association – the Women’s Institute – had launched the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign although its original impetus emanated from a fear of litter encroaching upon the countryside. However, it would be legitimate to argue that these ‘do good’ organisations were unlikely in themselves to check corruption. Britain has enjoyed a strong voluntary tradition and that tradition seemed in excellent health in the 1950s and 1960s. For example, membership

in From virtue to venality
Catherine Patterson

decision making in early Stuart towns explores questions of consensus, division and voting, revealing the complex interplay of language and practice in urban political culture. In the early seventeenth century, England’s towns and cities clearly operated within a system that valued concord, demanded order and trusted the best, ‘most discreet’ men to govern. Suppressing the potential for division and disorder was the goal of the state as well as of local governors. At the same time, the nature of urban government gave some townsmen regular opportunities to give their

in Revolutionising politics
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Medieval Britain, medieval roads
Editors: Valerie Allen and Ruth Evans

This collection of essays on roads in Britain in the Middle Ages addresses the topic from a cultural, anthropological and literary point of view, as well as a historical and archaeological one. Taking up Jacques Derrida's proposal that 'the history of writing and the history of the road' be 'meditated upon' together, it considers how roads ‘write’ landscapes. The anthology sets Britain’s thoroughfares against the backdrop of the extant Roman road system and argues for a technique of road construction and care that is distinctively medieval. As well as synthesizing information on medieval road terminology, roads as rights of passage and the road as an idea as much as a physical entity, individual essays look afresh at sources for the study of the medieval English road system, legal definitions of the highway, road-breaking and road-mending, wayfinding, the architecture of the street and its role in popular urban government, English hermits and the road as spiritual metaphor, royal itineraries, pilgrimage roads, roads in medieval English romances, English river transport, roads in medieval Wales, and roads in the Anglo-Scottish border zone.

Peter Jones

In the late nineteenth century Glasgow had been a model of Victorian urban government and the local elite was steeped in Victorian ideals of public service and civic probity. After the expansion of the franchise in 1918 local politics became more open and the Irish Treaty of 1921 undermined the necessity of the Unionist Party in Scotland and Glasgow in particular. By 1933 Labour had become the majority party in Glasgow’s City Council. A new type of politician entered public life that needed to live by politics as much as live for politics. This was achieved by using public office to accept bribes; dispense favours over public building programmes; cultivate patron-client relationships to secure drink licences; control the allocation of vendors’ stalls in local markets. A local press campaign resulted in the establishment of a Tribunal of Inquiry (1933) which exposed wrong doing in respect of the Council’s housing department. Little was done and corruption persisted throughout the post-war years and Glasgow shows that corruption can prevail in a political system where one party ruled for long periods of time without significant political opposition.

in From virtue to venality
Open Access (free)
Postcolonial governance and the policing of family
Author: Joe Turner

Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.

Space, power and governance in mid-twentieth century British cities

Reconstructing modernity assesses the character of approaches to rebuilding British cities during the decades after the Second World War. It explores the strategies of spatial governance that sought to restructure society and looks at the cast of characters who shaped these processes. It challenges traditional views of urban modernism as moderate and humanist, shedding new light on the importance of the immediate post-war for the trajectory of urban renewal in the twentieth century. The book shows how local corporations and town planners in Manchester and Hull attempted to create order and functionality through the remaking of their decrepit Victorian cities. It looks at the motivations of national and local governments in the post-war rebuilding process and explores why and how they attempted the schemes they did. What emerges is a picture of local corporations, planners and city engineers as radical reshapers of the urban environment, not through the production of grand examples of architectural modernism, but in mundane attempts to zone cities, produce greener housing estates, control advertising or regulate air quality. Their ambition to control and shape the space of their cities was an attempt to produce urban environments that might be both more orderly and functional, but also held the potential to shape society.