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Structural Changes in the Public Sphere During the Investiture Contest

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Chapter Summary

The investiture debate serves as a testing ground for studying the degree of interaction between the popular and the intellectual segments of society. The structural changes in the public sphere from the Carolingian elitist non-institutionalised public sphere to a semi-elitist but still non-institutionalised variant in the first half of the eleventh century are vital for explaining the early-period polemics. It is only in the mid-period that the polemicists start to conceptualise public opinion as a potential political audience. The replacement of the non-institutionalised public sphere of the early period with the semi-institutionalised variant in the mid-period ignited the 'logic of public debate'. To foreshadow one or two conclusions, it may be suggested that the more stable frames that emerged with the new public structures in turn led to the need to take public opinion into consideration.

Keywords: intellectual discussion; investiture debate; political audience; public sphere

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