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Section II: Social Groups, Economies, and Political Structures in Residence Cities

The second section of the handbook serves as an exemplary consolidation and comparative systematisation from a socio-historical perspective. The aim is to analyse the development of communities in residential cities, comprehensively understood in socio-historical terms in the sense of urban communitisation processes, always also in relation to rulers and the court. Analogous processes in places of another character (country towns without a residential function, imperial towns, but also non-urban settlements) are to be taken into account as a context to be able to work out differences and similarities. The content focuses on processes of urban development, population, social topography, and inner urbanisation, the political development of the urban community and its representation, social groups in the city, integration into inter-urban and territorial networks, relations with the city lord, his local functionaries and the court. Special emphasis is placed on the structural and personal interconnections of the actors involved. Comprehensive prosopographies cannot be presented within the framework of the handbook, but the relationship between urban and manorial structures is to be analysed qualitatively, comparatively, and systematically in methodological connection to sociability analysis as a net of social interactions.

Structure: The volumes of handbook section II are divided into three volumes - two regionally arranged volumes with exemplary analyses of individual residential towns, one systematically arranged volume:

Volumes II/1 and II/2 (exemplary part): Volumes II/1 and II/2 provide exemplary analyses of twelve places each, the selection of which is based on typological criteria in coordination with Handbook Section III and takes into account the state of research as well as the geographical distribution. The selection criteria are size, town lord (princely, episcopal, etc.), chronological classification of the development of the town (high/late medieval, early modern), type of residence (e.g. main/secondary residence), special forms of interaction (e.g. conflicts between town lord and municipality, conflicts between town lord and municipality, change of lordly or dynastic affiliation, discontinuation of the function of residence), integration into the rural estates, economic structure, ecclesiastical institutions, and clerical communities, effects of the Reformation and confessionalisation. By the overall concept of the project, special attention is paid to smaller towns.

The total of 24 studies in the two exemplary volumes of Handbook Section II, each with its specific research questions, are assigned to five sub-sections, which structure the topic by applying central analytical perspectives of the research project and on which the order of the systematic section (Handbook Volume II,3) is also based. These research perspectives, which are set in parallel for the handbook sections II and III, but are in part differentiated in terms of content, are based on the interconnected coordinates of times, spaces, and practices:

  1. Times and processes. Continuities - Caesuras - Transformations
  2. Spaces and relationships. Centrality - Interconnections - Networks
  3. Practices (1): connecting and arranging. Persons - Groups - Corporations
  4. Practices (2): Organising and negotiating. Procedures - Co-operations - Conflicts
  5. Practices (3): Managing and providing. Economies - Markets – Finances

Volume II/3 (systematic part): The systematic part is a synthesis of the achieved state of research and builds both on the exemplary studies of Handbook volumes II,1-2 and on the material presented in the articles on places in Handbook Section I. The residential cities of the Holy Roman Empire are thus finally considered on a more general level, without, however, levelling out the considerable differences of the subject matter. Rather, the differences that exist between the residential cities in a synchronic and diachronic comparison are to be classified typologically. In doing so, the perspective changes from the description of individual places and the treatment of exemplary questions to the systematic presentation of subject areas. As a result, this subject matter is to be made accessible to the user of the handbook from different factual points of view in manageable text units, which at the same time refer to the other handbook volumes.

The structure of the exemplary section into five research perspectives is also used as a basis for the systematic section to structure the work process and subsequent usage throughout and to establish corresponding references. Each of these five research perspectives is assigned four to eight factual articles, each of which is devoted to a limited, but not too narrowly chosen topic. References are used to establish cross-references to the exemplary studies as well as between the factual articles and, if necessary, also to the articles on places. In addition, a text is included for each of the five overarching research perspectives, which, together with a conceptually guided overarching sketch, serves to further interlink the content of the systematic factual articles and the exemplary studies.