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Church, space and conflict: religious coexistence and political communication in seventeenth-century Switzerland


Hacke, Daniela (2007). Church, space and conflict: religious coexistence and political communication in seventeenth-century Switzerland. German history, 25(3):285-312.

Abstract

This article sets out to explore how a local quarrel in the Grafschaft of Baden, a bi-confessional Swiss county, occasioned by efforts to install a separate font for Protestant parishioners, activated larger constitutional and confessional tensions between the Catholic and Protestant cantons of the Swiss Confederation. The article reconstructs the lengthy political negotiations caused by the rearrangement of church space since the Landfrieden of 1531: this treaty had enshrined bi-confessionalism in the Swiss Confederation and had established the duties and rights of both confessions, although to the disadvantage of the Reformed Protestants. It had also transformed the consecrated space of the church into a stage for political action by the cantons. From 1531 onwards, changes in religious belief and observance were subject to the will of the supreme governing authority. The article shows that local conflicts over the arrangement and furnishing of certain church spaces can give us fascinating insights into political practice, the establishment of social order and the handling of denominational differences within the Swiss Confederation. It attempts to contribute to our understanding of early modern political history by using concepts from cultural history and communication theory in which politics is closely linked to social and confessional processes generating meaning and order.

This article sets out to explore how a local quarrel in the Grafschaft of Baden, a bi-confessional Swiss county, occasioned by efforts to install a separate font for Protestant parishioners, activated larger constitutional and confessional tensions between the Catholic and Protestant cantons of the Swiss Confederation. The article reconstructs the lengthy political negotiations caused by the rearrangement of church space since the Landfrieden of 1531: this treaty had enshrined bi-confessionalism in the Swiss Confederation and had established the duties and rights of both confessions, although to the disadvantage of the Reformed Protestants. It had also transformed the consecrated space of the church into a stage for political action by the cantons. From 1531 onwards, changes in religious belief and observance were subject to the will of the supreme governing authority. The article shows that local conflicts over the arrangement and furnishing of certain church spaces can give us fascinating insights into political practice, the establishment of social order and the handling of denominational differences within the Swiss Confederation. It attempts to contribute to our understanding of early modern political history by using concepts from cultural history and communication theory in which politics is closely linked to social and confessional processes generating meaning and order.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of History
Dewey Decimal Classification:900 History
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:10 May 2012 15:44
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:48
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1477-089X
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&CON_LNG=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=001753664
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-62200

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