Inquisition and Medieval Society: Power, Discipline, and Resistance in Languedoc

Inquisition and Medieval Society: Power, Discipline, and Resistance in Languedoc

by James Buchanan Given, James B. Given


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James B. Given analyzes the inquisition in one French region in order to develop a sociology of medieval politics. Established in the early thirteenth century to combat widespread popular heresy, inquisitorial tribunals identified, prosecuted, and punished heretics and their supporters. The inquisition in Languedoc was the best documented of these tribunals because the inquisitors aggressively used the developing techniques of writing and record keeping to build cases and extract confessions.Using a Marxist and Foucauldian approach, Given focuses on three inquiries: what techniques of investigation, interrogation, and punishment the inquisitors worked out in the course of their struggle against heresy; how the people of Languedoc responded to the activities of the inquisitors; and what aspects of social organization in Languedoc either facilitated or constrained the work of the inquisitors. Punishments not only inflicted suffering and humiliation on those condemned, he argues, but also served as theatrical instruction for the rest of society about the terrible price of transgression. Through a careful pursuit of these inquires, Given elucidates medieval society's contribution to the modern apparatus of power.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801487590
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 12/03/2001
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 833,931
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

James B. Given is Professor of History at the University of California at Irvine. He is the author of State and Society in Medieval Europe, also from Cornell, and Society and Homicide in Thirteenth-Century England.

Table of Contents

A Note on Citations from Unpublished Manuscriptsxiii
Section IThe Inquisitors and Their Techniques23
Chapter 1The Technology of Documentation25
Chapter 2The Technology of Coercive Imprisonment52
Chapter 3The Technology of Punishment66
Section IIResponses to the Inquisitors91
Chapter 4Forms of Individual Resistance93
Chapter 5Forms of Collective Resistance111
Chapter 6Manipulation141
Section IIIThe Social and Political Context167
Chapter 7The Role of Social Stress and Social Strain169
Chapter 8Structural Constraints191
Conclusion: The Inquisitors and the Exercise of Political Power in Medieval Europe213

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