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Bonds of Print and Chains of Paper: Rethinking Print Culture and Social Formation in Early Modern England, c.1550-c.1700

Maguire, Frances (2017) Bonds of Print and Chains of Paper: Rethinking Print Culture and Social Formation in Early Modern England, c.1550-c.1700. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the employment of print by institutions in early modern England c.1550-c1700, to challenge existing understandings of print culture. Where previous studies of print focus predominantly on the published, public and popular, my research demonstrates that institutions commissioned and distributed print for a variety of communicative and administrative purposes. By engaging critically with the adoption of print, I interrogate the role of documentary culture in the workings of governance. I argue that print increasingly navigated and negotiated a wide set of exchanges and was a critical component in the development and performance of social relations. Examining institutional records and personal papers, this thesis identifies a previously overlooked corpus of print that was implicit to administration and record keeping. My research supplements existing print catalogues to remap the printed landscape of the period. Each section explores a particular institutional setting, looking in turn at the printed output of the Church, the state and London livery companies to reveal the function of print in administrative practice. To do this, it follows the course of printed sheets from printing house to archive. As a result, it charts a very different circulation and consumption of print. This thesis aims to transform ideas of what men and women read, as much as what institutions printed. Scholars have largely ignored this print and the wider ramifications it has for understanding the paperchains that connected institutions and individuals. By taking a material approach to print, this thesis extends the parameters to discuss and study paperwork more broadly. My research contests the association usually drawn between the adoption of print and the emergence of standardisation and bureaucratic efficiency. I argue this has significant implications for conceptions of state formation, social relations and knowledge production in the early modern period.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Ms Frances Maguire
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 11:29
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 16:17
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18920

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