Necessary Conjunctions: The Social Self in Medieval England - The New Middle Ages (Hardback)D. Shaw (author)
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Publisher: Palgrave USA
Number of pages: 292
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 21 mm
Edition: 2005 ed.
"David Gary Shaw's Necessary Conjunctions offers a subtle, penetrating and persuasive analysis of the concept of the 'social self' as it was realized in the world of late medieval urban society in England. The book powerfully articulates a notion of 'social agency' and how it can be understood in the social worlds of the past, avoiding some of the pitfalls of current discussions of self and the individual in the Middle Ages. Shaw has developed a graceful way of talking about social history that keeps meaning in the forefront, a style always sensitive to the theoretical implications of his findings, without privileging theory as such. At the same time, he is equally successful in conveying historical actualities, providing the reader with textured sense of lives lived within constraints, but also possibilities, that surely was the condition under which individual agency operated in this world. Necessary Conjunctions holds wide interest for historians interested in both social history and theories of self and agency in the Middle Ages and beyond." - Gabrielle Spiegel, Dean of Humanities, College of Letters and Science, University of California, Los Angeles
"Medieval people, more than those of any other European era, are not recognized in terms of the self, individuality, agency and choice. The deeply nuanced and utterly persuasive achievement of Shaw s book is to give us a portrait of medieval people - ordinary people, unheroic small town, small society people - with their full and complex interiority at last restored. He does this, with a quiet and systematic audacity, by taking seriously the long-established but under-scrutinized assumptions about the social and collective identities of medieval people and working out precisely how these people emerged as full persons through and against the pressures of face-to-face social life. Fascinatingly written in a fresh and feeling prose (which itself marks a new tonality of the historian s voice) Shaw lets us accompany medieval townspeople in the small, fraught encounters with one another that expressed desire, ambition, and selfhood within the almost-flexible boundaries of their society. " - Nancy Partner, McGill University
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