Power in the Blood: Popular Culture and Village Discourse in Early Modern Germany

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Cambridge University Press, 1987 - History - 250 pages
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This book offers a substantial reassessment of peasant society and popular culture in early modern Europe. The book is based on a series of episodes from village or small town life of the duchy of Wrttemberg in southwest Germany from 1580 and 1800, in which state authorities conducted a special investigation into local events. The cases and characters involved include peasants' refusal to celebrate church rituals; a self-proclaimed prophet who encountered an angel in his vineyard; a thirteen-year-old witch; a paranoid pastor; a murder; and the live burial of a village bull. Each case offers vivid insights into the state's attitude towards local communities and individuals, and the latter's conception of the state, as well as internal relations among the villagers. Throuhgout, the important but ambiguous role of the church and of religious ideology in the reformation and transformation of popular culture is made apparent.

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Communion and community The refusal to attend the Lords Supper in the sixteenth century
A prophet in the Thirty Years War Penance as a social metaphor
The sacred bond of unity Community through the eyes of a thirteenyearold witch 1683
Blasphemy adultery and persecution Paranoia in the pulpit 16961710
The conscience of the poor A village detective story 173343
The sins of belief A village remedy for hoof and mouth disease 1796
General index
Index of places

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Page 29 - What is common in community is not shared values or common understanding so much as the fact that members of a community are engaged in the same argument, the same raisonnement, the same Rede, the same discourse, in which alternative strategies, misunderstandings, conflicting goals and values are threshed out.

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