Visions of Community & Political Transformation (400-1200)


The projects of this working group focus on medieval "visions of community" and on the political efforts undertaken to realize these ideals. It was, in particular, Christian societal models, ethnic concepts and imperial traditions of legitimation that had a lasting effect on medieval Europe between 400 and 1200. From an examination of the sources it is clear that these identity-constructs, the product of constantly changing processes of communication, by no means constituted the manifestations of stable communities. Instead, they were much strategic ploys in a process of negotiation that sought to establish a consensus concerning the legitimacy of power and the coherence of social integration.

The comparative approaches employed in the projects allow their results to be applied beyond the confines of the Latin-speaking Middle Ages and compared with parallel societal models elsewhere.