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The Concept of the Three Orders of Society and Social Mobility in Eleventh-Century England
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6891-8024
2016 (English)In: English Historical Review, ISSN 0013-8266, E-ISSN 1477-4534, Vol. 131, no 553, 1331-1352 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the concept of the three orders of society (oratoresbellatoreslaboratores) in the works of Ælfric of Eynsham (d. c.1010) and Wulfstan of York (d. 1023). Paying attention to the immediate contexts in which Ælfric and Wulfstan formulated their views on social order, the article contrasts the varying uses of the metaphor with the discussion on social change and social mobility current around the turn of the first millennium. The reiteration of these categories seems to have surfaced in situations of particular political turbulence, as a means of convincing audiences that contemporary society was in a state of disorder which had to be remedied. The article incorporates analysis of a text previously excluded from discussions of the concept, Napier 50, and reviews some interpretations according to which the three orders functioned as part of criticism of extensive upward social mobility at the beginning of the eleventh century.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 131, no 553, 1331-1352 p.
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-138258DOI: 10.1093/ehr/cew419ISI: 000398374600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-138258DiVA: diva2:1066436
Available from: 2017-01-18 Created: 2017-01-18 Last updated: 2017-05-29Bibliographically approved

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