Lieu : Vienne (Autriche)
Dates : 12-14 octobre 2020
Date limite de réponse à l’appel : 15 avril 2020
In contrast to Norbert Elias’ perception of the court as a “gilded cage”, historians have, over a couple of decades, agreed on concepts of courts as specific social systems that can be visualised by a series of concentric circles around the ruler. Courtiers and officers were not only domesticated by the court (“Civilizing Process”), they were rather integrated in the mechanisms of decision-making. Therefore, courts can be defined as cultural and political nexuses: places where central power encountered the subjects (yet still belonging to different sort of elites, including noble and functional elites), and where power and resources were concentrated and redistributed. Courtiers and officers were integrated in a permanent process of interaction and redistribution in the surroundings of the ruler. Possible share in power and rule, promotion and admission to offices at court and in the chancery were accordingly regarded as a consequence of the ruler’s grace on the one hand or, as the quasi-institutional practice and structure of governance on the other hand. Thus, individuals who had direct and specific access to the rulers or belonged to their inner circle (gaining their trust and establishing an intellectual and even physical proximity with them), were sometimes raised to a position that enabled them to accumulate resources and develop their own influence and power.