Subproject B01 — Public Peace?
Non-Violence and Federal Order in the Early Modern Age
first funding stage (2014-2017)
The subproject researches the correlation of political order and peacekeeping in the 16th and 17th centuries. The progress in modernisation in early modern times, which linked the emergence of the unitary state with the ensuring of internal and external security, will be critically examined by analysing how federal political systems (Holy Roman Empire, Swiss Confederation, the Netherlands) established security and how they ensured security for the future. Likewise it will be analysed how new challenges - like the rising problems between the different confessions or peasant uprisings - became the subject of peacekeeping and thereby became a subject of security policy.
In the first funding phase, the sub-project takes peacekeeping in the Empire between the Perpetual Public Peace and the Peace of Westphalia as the basis for research. At its core, it addresses the hypothesis that in the 16th century, the complex federal structure of the Empire was based on the organisation of the most comprehensive waiver of force possible and thus constituted a system of collective security. State peace policy is thereby used as a paradigmatic example of securitisation in the early modern era. Therefore, the dynamics of creating security in the early modern Empire were based to a great extent on the fact that the concept of public peace was applied to new challenges. Whereas the elimination of rampant aristocratic feuding was still at the centre of imperial legislation at the Perpetual Public Peace of 1495, the following decades gave rise to new fields of conflict that were responded to with the logic and instruments of public peace.
Research project 1 analyses the Holy Roman Empire between 1500 and 1618 on the basis of its state peace policy as a system of collective security. The research is led by three aspects. Firstly, the communicative aspect of securitisation shall be described on political communication at diets at various levels of the Empire. Secondly, the space-creating quality of such collective state peacekeeping in the Empire is examined. When doing so, the delegation of state peacekeeping to the estates and the Imperial Circles is analysed in continuity with the experience of regional peace organisations, but now under the conditions of the area-wide organisation of the estates. Thirdly, in looking at the execution of public peace, the actors in state peacekeeping and the role of force are examined.
The second research project complements the first by focusing on the “Gartknechte”, a specific and prominent group of perpetrators of violence in the 16th century that threatened the public peace. Taking on the perspective of a specific security problem allows statements to be made on securitisation discourses and practices in the early modern Empire. The problem of the “Gartknechte” was evident around 1550 and, at least in the West of the Empire, clearly momentous from the 1580s onwards. The danger of these masterless mercenary soldiers primarily lay in their mobility. Did this in particular require cooperation between territories and, in this respect, was it one of the stimuli for expanding areas of security?