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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2020
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Book description

Social Control in Late Antiquity: The Violence of Small Worlds explores the small-scale communities of late antiquity – households, monasteries, and schools – where power was a question of personal relationships. When fathers, husbands, teachers, abbots, and slave-owners asserted their own will, they saw themselves as maintaining the social order, and expected law and government to reinforce their rule. Naturally, the members of these communities had their own ideas, and teaching them to 'obey their betters' was not always a straightforward business. Drawing on a wide variety of sources from across the late Roman Mediterranean, from law codes and inscriptions to monastic rules and hagiography, the book considers the sometimes conflicting identities of women, slaves, and children, and documents how they found opportunities for agency and recognition within a system built on the unremitting assertion of the rights of the powerful.


‘… scholars with a robust background in late antiquity, early Christian monasticism, Church fathers, inter alia, will find much to appreciate in its pages.’

Sarah Rollens Source: Bryn Mawr Classical Review

‘Social Control in Late Antiquity offers a number of truly excellent and thought-provoking contributions to the still highly relevant project of studying the role of power relations in the formation of early Christian identity and institutions.’

Kristina Sessa Source: Journal of Early Christian Studies

‘[The book] is rich in content and covers an impressive variety of late antique authors and writings; the volume offers nuanced perspectives on violence and engages the modern sociological concepts of Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault. Fascinating to read are not only the discussions of lesser-known late antique writings but also the alternative perspectives on well-known Christian authors and their texts. With its broad range of topics related to the 'violence of small worlds', this book is highly relevant and warmly recommended for anyone interested in historical, sociological, educational, Christian-theological, and literary studies of late antiquity.’

Christina M. Kreinecke Source: Augustiniana

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