Action Groups

Patrick Lantschner

in The Logic of Political Conflict in Medieval Cities

Published in print March 2015 | ISBN: 9780198734635
Published online April 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191799235 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Action Groups

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
  • Political History


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Late medieval European cities were teeming with groups which engaged in collective political action. This chapter distinguishes between different types of such action groups, and discusses how they operated within the polycentric order of their cities. Many action groups crystallized over long periods of time around corporations such as guilds or similar jurisdictional bodies, which offered channels for the negotiation of conflict. Factions and parties were themselves long-standing action groups which were larger in size and developed their own mechanisms to dominate urban politics. Coalitions, by contrast, were short-lived and volatile political associations, but their success often depended on their ability to tap the resources of existing political units. Unlike other action groups which could rely on established practices of conflict, coalitions were most likely to engage in revolt and urban warfare.

Keywords: action group; institution; collective action; corporation; faction; party; coalition; revolt

Chapter.  12727 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; Political History

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