What is it about?

The rise of urban oligarchy has been attributed to dramatically different time periods by historians. With existing scholarship based heavily on England’s major cities, this article utilises the emergent social network analysis method to explore the theme in the context of a much smaller town whose powers of self-government were minimal until the dissolution. The loss of a common adversary with the dissolution served to widen social divisions within lay society. The importance of local circumstances in determining this shift towards exclusion in Reading goes some way to explaining the variety of opinions in the urban oligarchy debate.

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Why is it important?

The use of social network analysis evidence indicates a civic elite that interacted frequently with lower-status members of society, rather than forming an isolated clique.

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This page is a summary of: Urban Oligarchy and Dissolutioned Voters: The End of Monastic Rule in Reading, 1350-1600, Cultural and Social History, October 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/14780038.2019.1661556.
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