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Government and Information-Management in Early Modern Europe. The Case of the Society of Jesus (1540-1773)

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This paper uses the Society of Jesus as a case study to examine important developments in the early modern history of administration. It starts by analyzing the conceptual framework of Jesuit government, especially its centralized government. From here, the article moves on to examine the routines of administrative information-management, including the different forms of letter writing and the use of printed questionnaires. Special attention is then paid to every-day decision-making and the information acquired through it. The order's central archive is treated in a separate section. The archive is regarded as a key element of Jesuit administration, both in theory and daily routines. To balance the 'central' perspective of the first sections, the paper finally focuses on several critical voices that were part of a larger Jesuit administrative counter-discourse.

Affiliations: 1: Boston College, Goethe-University, Frankfurt


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