Contradictio in Contrarium. Self-organizing Social Structures through the Eyes of French Absolutism Advocates
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Contradictio in Contrarium. Self-organizing Social Structures through the Eyes of French Absolutism Advocates
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What was the attitude of French absolutism or “new monarchy” (rationally organized and strictly centralized power) advocates towards the legacy of medieval self-organizing and self-regulating structures: corporations, communes, representative institutions? We chose two French authors’ works to answer this question. The first one is Raul Spifame who wrote an unusual project of improvement of the royal legislature (“Dicaearchiae Henrici Regis christianissimi progymnasmata”). The second is his younger contemporary, advocate and well-known erudite-historian Étienne Pasqier. His “The Researches of France” (“Les Recherches de France”) had been repeatedly published since 1560s till early 17th century. Despite serious distinctions between Spifame and Pasqier we can find some common traits in their attitude to traditional self-regulating social and political structures that are situated on the periphery of authors’ interests. They were negative towards some of these structures, for example, assemblies of States, and formally respectful or neutral to others, for example, university corporations. But implicitly both authors are still place self-organizing units of society as its basic structures. Royal administrative bodies are laid over them. In any case Spifame and Pasqier do not suggest any alternative to such units on the low level of administration. So we can consider Spifame and Pasqier’s works as “contradictio in contrarium” for the role of self-organizing structures in life of Western society.
Urban corporations, medieval universities, representative institutions, French absolutism, absolutist political doctrines, historical writing
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