By John Haldon
With unique essays by way of top students, this publication explores the social background of the medieval japanese Roman Empire and provides illuminating new insights into our wisdom of Byzantine society.Provides interconnected essays of unique scholarship with regards to the social historical past of the Byzantine empireOffers groundbreaking theoretical and empirical examine within the learn of Byzantine societyIncludes worthy glossaries of sociological/theoretical phrases and Byzantine/medieval phrases
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Extra resources for A Social History of Byzantium
But in all these contexts, the exercise of power tends towards an end (even if, in the example of personal physical coercion, bullying, that end is psychological gratification). From one perspective, then, “power” is the political and psychological expression of economic dominance (since resources are, in the end, an essentially economic category), although this element may not necessarily be obvious either to the modern commentator nor clearly be conceptualized as such by those who wield it – social relationships are generally represented in an ideological form that has no obvious single economic point of reference.
Conflict at court, conflict between elite families and clans, disagreements and tensions or conflict between emperors and patriarchs, conflict between individuals before a court, conflict between provincial commanders and their armies, all conflict revolved around a struggle for power and influence, whether at court and over policy, over economic resources in the provinces, or over imperial religious policy and the perceptions ordinary people had about it. Power will, thus, be a crucial element in much of the discussion, and definitions of power, or how the notion might best be conceptualized, are therefore of central importance.
But narratives are always re-constructions of experience, they involve evaluation, and therefore there inheres within them the potential for change, for shifts in understanding roles and relationships and thus, crucially, for shifts in social practice. A change in the elements making up a narrative will entail a change in evaluation, and consequently a change in perceptions of the relationship between self (or group) and the world. And depending upon the order of magnitude of change in these elements, such changes can take any form, from the re-assessment of a relationship to an individual or an activity – and thus individualized and localized – to a re-assessment by a whole collectivity or group of their position in relation to other groups or individuals, institutions, sets of beliefs, and so forth.
A Social History of Byzantium by John Haldon