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Introduction Banishment And Social Control In Early Modern Germany

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines how rulers in early modern Europe used banishment to punish and purge deviants and outsiders, as well as how these convicts-vagrants, laborers, and citizens alike-reacted to their expulsion, through an analysis of judicial expulsion practices in sixteenth-century Ulm. The use of banishment to rid society of deviants and outsiders culminated in the late sixteenth century, as a wave of administrative reform swept Germany. Analysis of banishment prosecution sheds new light on early modern social control initiatives. While scholars have long viewed the Reformation as a watershed in the transition to a modern, secular, rational society, recent studies have undermined this modernization narrative and accentuate instead the striking continuities between late medieval and early modern developments. The examination of banishment practices provided here supports this view, revealing the medieval origins of the exclusionary impulses and ambitious disciplinary efforts that fueled banishment prosecution in the wake of the Reformation.

Keywords:banishment; Germany; judicial expulsion practices; Reformation; sixteenth-century Ulm; social control



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