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Open Access “Government in India and Japan is different from government in Europe”: Asian Jesuits on Infrastructure, Administrative Space, and the Possibilities for a Global Management of Power

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“Government in India and Japan is different from government in Europe”: Asian Jesuits on Infrastructure, Administrative Space, and the Possibilities for a Global Management of Power

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This paper investigates the influence of geographical distance on the practices and concepts of Jesuit administration in the early modern period. It discusses in particular select letters by Alessandro Valignano from East Asia, to demonstrate how loyal Jesuits in the Far East asked for administrative adjustments in order to overcome the enormous infrastructural difficulties involved in upholding constant epistolary communication with Rome. Valignano over and again stressed both the difference and the distance between Asia and Europe and thought that both factors necessitated an accommodation of the order’s organizational framework. This case study thus helps address the broader questions of how the members of the Society of Jesus conceived of global space. It becomes clear that, while they hoped for institutional unity and insisted frequently on procedural uniformity, they also openly acknowledged that due to distance and cultural differences there never could exist an entirely homogeneous, single global Jesuit space.

Affiliations: 1: University of Hamburg, markus.friedrich@uni-hamburg.de

This paper investigates the influence of geographical distance on the practices and concepts of Jesuit administration in the early modern period. It discusses in particular select letters by Alessandro Valignano from East Asia, to demonstrate how loyal Jesuits in the Far East asked for administrative adjustments in order to overcome the enormous infrastructural difficulties involved in upholding constant epistolary communication with Rome. Valignano over and again stressed both the difference and the distance between Asia and Europe and thought that both factors necessitated an accommodation of the order’s organizational framework. This case study thus helps address the broader questions of how the members of the Society of Jesus conceived of global space. It becomes clear that, while they hoped for institutional unity and insisted frequently on procedural uniformity, they also openly acknowledged that due to distance and cultural differences there never could exist an entirely homogeneous, single global Jesuit space.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22141332-00401001
2017-11-30
2017-12-12

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