Political structures and networks under the Baldwins of Hainaut (1051- 1205/1206)

Project: Research

Project Details


This research project intends to examine the relationships between the counts of Hainaut and their aristocracy under the reign of the Baldwins (1051-1205/1206) by using social network analysis. During that period, the principality of Hainaut rose up and asserted itself on the political scene. This study requires the use of methods and concepts pertaining to social networks analysis which are neglected by medievalists nowadays. The reticular approach to power should renew considerably our knowledge on the origins of the medieval principalities by revealing some social phenomena that are not perceptible by qualitative approaches. At the same time, the research project should also confirm, or infirm, some hypotheses which are not yet established about the princely courts. From that viewpoint, the study has the following objectives : first, to describe how the counts of Hainaut increased their power and tried to subjugate their aristocracy, second, to analyze how the nobility served the prince. The application of social network analysis to medieval sources involves using the subscriptions of the charters produced by the counts of Hainaut and their aristocracy. Consequently, the research project must deal with diplomatics. The study will focus here on discussed issues about the order and the function of the subscribers, the evolution of the witness lists or the link between the writing and the promulgation of charters. From that angle, the project should improve our knowledge of the princely and seigniorial charters during the “writing revolution” of the 12th and 13th centuries.
Short titleRéseaux de pouvoir en Hainaut (11e-13e)
Effective start/end date1/10/1530/09/18