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The Political and Symbolic Economy of State Feudalism: The Case of Late-Medieval Flanders

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The article examines social, economic, political and symbolic relations and exchanges within late-medieval state structure, with a specific focus on the fifteenth-century county of Flanders under Burgundian rule. The author applies and elaborates Jean-Philippe Genet's concept of 'state feudalism' as a more centralised, political articulation of the feudal mode of production, in which state taxes and the redistribution of surplus-product among the ruling classes play a key role. What historians have come to call the 'modern state' arose within a social and political system which influenced in its turn the further development of the state as a network of relationships. Making use of Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of 'capital' and 'symbolic exchange', the article constructs a model representing the different relations between the prince, his officials and 'political society'.

Affiliations: 1: Foundation for Scientific Research-Flanders, Department of Medieval History, University of Ghent


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