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“So that Every Subject Knows How to Behave”: Social Disciplining in Early Modern Bohemia

  • Sheilagh Ogilvie (a1)

“Social disciplining” is the name that has been given to attempts by the authorities throughout early modern Europe to regulate people's private lives.1 In explicit contrast to “social control,” the informal mechanisms by which people have always sought to put pressure on one another in traditional societies, “social disciplining” was a set of formal, legislative strategies through which the emerging early modern state sought to “civilize” and “rationalize” its subjects' behavior in order to facilitate well-ordered government and a capitalist modernization of the economy.2 Whether viewed favorably as an essential stage in a beneficent “civilizing process” or more critically as an arbitrary coercion of popular culture in the interests of elites, social disciplining is increasingly regarded as central to most aspects of political, economic, religious, social, and cultural change in Europe between the medieval and the modern periods.3

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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