Resonance and Discord

An Early Medieval Reconsideration of Political Culture

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Steven A. Stofferahn

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Scholars with an interest in politics have long searched for meaningful ways to conceptualize power relationships, notably turning in recent years to the notion of "political culture." By recounting this concept's historiographical trajectory vis-à-vis the early medieval practice of exile and by highlighting subtle arguments in Einhard's Vita Karoli Magni regarding the proper application of banishment in Carolingian Europe, the present essay not only offers a new perspective on the elusive date of that seminal biography's composition, but also suggests that historians of any era may profitably apply Keith Michael Baker's definition of political culture to their own fields of inquiry by evaluating how dispute resolution practices either resonated or struck discord among a polity's chief stakeholders.

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