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Pining for Stability: The Borromeo Family and the Crisis of the Spanish Monarchy, 1610-1680

WEBER, SAMUEL (2019) Pining for Stability: The Borromeo Family and the Crisis of the Spanish Monarchy, 1610-1680. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Using the Borromeo family of Spanish Milan as an example, the thesis explores the transformation of the nobility from rebels to warriors and courtiers over the course of the seventeenth century. It argues that this transformation was neither the result of far-sighted impositions from above nor the product of the nobility’s intrinsic motivation but the fallout from the collapse of the government of the minister-favorite. By opening up access to royal patronage for select members of the nobility successive validos inadvertently fostered a legitimacy crisis of the large-scale redistribution of commonly held resources that they had overseen. As village communities resisted the count-duke of Olivares’s Union of Arms, the Spanish empire headed for a breakdown of order that reached its nadir in the 1640s. Picking up the pieces, the nobility, relying on a gendered division of the labor of domination, recomposed the Spanish monarchy, transforming it from an elite network animated by dynastic concerns to a monarcho-aristocratic regime whose members drew on symbolic violence and the ideology of disinterested service to wrest back control. Putting the ruled back into the story of the rulers, the thesis revises our understanding of the genesis of the crisis of the seventeenth century, repositioning the crisis of legitimacy of patronage at midcentury as the catalyst of a momentous reconfiguration of both the nobility and monarchical government. A study of both social elites and state-building, the thesis addresses ongoing historiographical debates on the nature of seventeenth-century paternalism and patronage, its affinity to corruption and its umbilical link to the rise of the baroque state.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:28 Nov 2019 13:17

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