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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Publication details for Professor Andy Wood

Wood, Andy (2006). Subordination, solidarity and the limits of popular agency in a Yorkshire valley, c.1596-1615. Past and Present 193(1): 41-72.

Author(s) from Durham


Over the past decade, social historians of early modern England have found themselves drawn to the study of popular politics. Unlike earlier approaches to the subject, which tended to focus upon unitary processes of ‘politicization’, the new social history of politics has developed a broader sense of the political, centred upon power relations, agency and resistance.1 Most notably, this new social history of politics has questioned the validity of older approaches to the political, which tended to present early modern society as an organic hierarchy defined by popular deference and the uncritical acceptance of authority. Thus, Mark Kishlansky’s assumption that ‘in early modern England, political activity took place within the context of a hierarchical social structure and theocentric universe’, and that ‘social relations’ were conducted within ‘complex notions of honour, standing, and deference . . . [which] helped to regulate and absorb conflict between and within loosely defined status groups’ has in recent years been questioned. Whereas Kishlansky believed that early modern society was defined by ‘symbiotic relationships’, the new social historians of politics have emphasized the fluidity of power relations, the contingent nature of deference and the contested relationship between governor and governed.2