Strangers and Misfits: Banishment, Social Control, and Authority in Early Modern Germany


Banishment was crucial to law enforcement in early modern Europe, as magistrates used expulsion to punish and control thousands of offenders convicted of crimes ranging from adultery to theft. While early modern social control has attracted considerable scholarly attention in recent decades, banishment has been largely neglected. This book examines the role of banishment in sixteenth-century Ulm, an important south German city-state, using the town’s experience to uncover how early modern magistrates used expulsion to regulate and reorder society. This investigation sheds new light on the application of authority, the intersection between official disciplinary efforts and customary behavioral norms, and the function of public expulsion in displaying and defending social hierarchies, issues central to our historical understanding of the period.
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Biographical Note

Jason Philip Coy, Ph.D. (2001) in History, University of California, Los Angeles, is Assistant Professor of History at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

Review Quotes

"Écrit d’une plume aisée, bien construit et enrichi de quelques illustrations tirées des marges de l’Urgichtbuch de la ville, le livre de J.P.C. offre pour la première fois une vision approfondie de la pratique du bannissement dans l’une des plus importantes communautés urbaines du Saint-Empire. [...] Un livre utile donc, car il comble partiellement une lacune criante, mais l’enquête reste ouverte." Falk Bretschneider, Revue de l'Institut Français d'Histoire en Allemagne, 3 (2011) pp. 389-392.

"Coy is to be commneded for a volume that is concise and focused, carefully reasoned and rich with examples. Indeed, this volume should encourage wider study of banishment across early modern Europe and spur further research on this crucial, common, and often overlooked feature of urban life."
J. Jeffery Tyler, Renaissance Quarterly, 62 (2009) 974–975.

"Within its rather strict limits, this is a solid and imaginative study of a sixteenth-century Imperial city, one that sets down conclusions that will prompt comparison with other towns as future scholars look to see how widely applicable Coy's conclusions may be"
H.C. Erik Midelfort, The Journal of Central European History, 43 (2010) 346-348.

Table of contents

List of Figures

Introduction: Banishment and Social Control in Early Modern Germany

I. Banishment and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Ulm
The Banishment of Rosina Schemerin
Political Authority and Law Enforcement in Ulm
Banishment Practices: Prosecution and Purgation

II. Vagrancy and Banishment
The Banishment of Michel Maürer
Vagrancy Legislation and the Urban Community
Banishment and the 1559 Beggars’ Ordinance
Public Expulsion and Sociospatial Boundaries

III. Resident Aliens, Expulsion, and Exclusion
The Banishment of Cathrina Mair
The Migrants’ Ordinance and the Regulation of Resident Aliens
Expulsion and Exclusion
Property & Purity: the Banishment of Resident Aliens

IV. Moral Reform and the Banishment of Citizens
The Banishment of the Haüser Brothers
Moral Reform and Social Control: The Church Ordinance of 1531/1581
Banishment and Bürgerrecht: The Banishment of Citizens
Negotiation, Resistance, and Appeal

V. Public Expulsion Rituals and Early Modern Authority
The Ritual Expulsion of Simon Schlögel
Displacement and Discipline: Banishment and Horizontal Social Control in Ulm
The Therapeutic Role of Purgation
‘An Image and Example’: Banishment, Public Penal Displays, and Political Authority




All those interested in social history, urban history, the history of early modern Europe, the Reformation, law enforcement and social control, criminality and deviance, and state formation and authority.


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