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Assemblage Theory and Town Foundation in Medieval England

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2016

Ben Jervis*
Affiliation:
History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff CF10 3EU, UK Email: jervisb@cardiff.ac.uk
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Abstract

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It is proposed that our understanding of medieval town foundation is limited by a failure to appreciate that ‘town’ is a relational category. It is argued that urban character emerges from social relations, with some sets of social relationship revealing urbanity and others not, as places develop along distinctive, but related, trajectories. This argument is developed through the application of assemblage theory to the development of towns in thirteenth-century southern England. The outcome is a proposal that, by focusing on the social relations through which towns are revealed as a distinctive category of place, we can better comprehend why and how towns mattered in medieval society and develop a greater understanding of the relationship of urbanization to other social processes such as commercialization and associated changes in the countryside.

Type
Research Article
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright
Copyright © The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 2016
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