Research seminar History Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Europe

Appealing to authority: sources for a bottom-up social history


Simona Cerutti

Directrice d'études de l'EHESS (CRH-LaDéHiS)

We address the relationship set up between governors and the governed, their reciprocal expectations and constraints, on the basis of requests, denunciations, anonymous letters and personal accounts. These sources are subject in form and content to norms and also suggest discussions of the legitimacy, fairness and applicability of those norms. Analysis of them requires identifying the range of normative frameworks appealed to and the place given to the particular case in their construction in various societies. The extraordinary geographical and temporal range of these forms of communication is one of the problems addressed in the seminar.