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Medieval Germany 1056–1273$
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Alfred Haverkamp

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198221722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198221722.001.0001

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Social Change

Social Change

(p.79) 8 Social Change
Medieval Germany 1056–1273

Alfred Haverkamp

Oxford University Press

The far-reaching geographical mobility which marked the people of Western Europe between the 11th and 13th centuries stood in close correlation to the dissolution of older personal and seigneurial ties. Together with the opening up of new political and economic opportunities, a high degree of social mobility came about: i.e. a great capacity for change in the social status of individuals, families, institutionalized associations, and other groups. At the same time, new forms of common living and social classification arose. Having a profession became an important criterion of social status and thus reduced the old fixation with origins. But status according to birth was certainly not abolished; rather it was defended and emphasized by the supporters and interpreters of the traditional order. Town-dwellers became more detached from the rest of the population. They distinguished themselves from the nobility and the peasantry.

Keywords:   social mobility, clerics, serfs, slaves, nobles, social differentiation

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