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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book titled Politics and Justice in Late Medieval Bologna, which revisits the question of the medieval commune's achievements and failures through a case study of the political and juridical structures, policies and practices of the popolo of Bologna. Two issues are dominant: first, the issue of oligarchy - the extent of representation and participation in political life; and second, the impact of the popolo on the theory and practice of criminal justice. The book finds a new perspective on the popolo and its struggles with the magnates by placing those conflicts into a broader context inspired by closure theory, in order to view conflict as the exclusion of others in order to establish the identity of one's group and its monopoly of resources. The chapter also provides an overview of the content present in other chapters of the book.

Keywords: closure theory; criminal justice; juridical structures; medieval Bologna; oligarchy; political structures; popolo governance



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