Neighbours and strangers

Local societies in early medieval Europe

By Bernhard Zeller, Charles West, Francesca Tinti, Marco Stoffella, Nicolas Schroeder, Carine van Rhijn, Steffen Patzold, Thomas Kohl, Wendy Davies and Miriam Czock

Neighbours and strangers


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3983-2
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: March 2020
  • BIC Category: European history: medieval period, middle ages, HISTORY / Social History, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology, HISTORY / Medieval, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Medieval European Archaeology, Humanities / Medieval history, History, Archaeology, Medieval History
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Studies


This book explores social cohesion in rural settlements in western Europe from 700-1050, asking to what extent settlements, or districts, constituted units of social organisation. It focuses on the interactions, interconnections and networks of people who lived side by side - neighbours. Drawing evidence from most of the current western European countries, the book plots and interrogates the very different practices of this wide range of regions in a systematically comparative framework. It considers the variety of local responses to the supra-local agents of landlords and rulers and the impact, such as it was, of those agents on the small-scale residential group. It also assesses the impact on local societies of the values, instructions and demands of the wider literate world of Christianity, as delivered by local priests.


'[.] a valuable "handbook," enabling young medievalists to shape their research according to an innovative methodology which has succeeded in escaping the confines of the master narratives that long characterized
European medieval studies.'


1 Questions to pursue
2 Setting the scene
3 The fabric of local societies: people, land and settlement
4 Making groups: collective action in rural settlements
5 Shepherds, uncles, owners, scribes: priests as neighbours in early medieval local societies
6 Interventions in local societies: lower office holders
7 Interventions and interactions
8 Neighbours, visitors and strangers: searching for the local


Bernhard Zeller is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria; Charles West is Reader in Medieval History in the Department of History at the University of Sheffield, UK; Francesca Tinti is Ikerbasque Research Professor in the Department of Medieval, Modern and American History at the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain; Marco Stoffella is Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor in Medieval History at the University of Verona, Italy; Nicolas Schroeder is Assistant Professor in Medieval History at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; Carine van Rhijn is Lecturer in the Department of History and Art History at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands; Steffen Patzold is Professor of Medieval History in the Department of History at the University of Tübingen, Germany; Thomas Kohl is Acting Professor in the Department of History at the University of Tübingen, Germany; Wendy Davies is Professor Emerita of History at University College London and Associate Member in the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford, UK; Miriam Czock is Senior lecturer in the History Department at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

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