Consumption of Justice (Smail)Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz
Courts of law were central to premodern urban conflict management, Yet, why and when did people choose courts over other means of self-help and decided to invest in legal processes? By putting the ‘consumers of justice’ in the centre of his study of 14th century Marseille, Daniel Lord Smail addresses these questions and provides a counter-narrative to the concept that courts of law were established in a strict top-down process of state-formation and rationalization.
Among many other thought-provoking ideas, he reminds historians to not overstress pure economic rationality in legal processes and courts. Emotions and grudges as well as the desire to publicly defend or attack status and honor often overlapped with economic conflicts and provided as much an incentive to drag an opponent before court as an actual desire for justice. An important consideration when wondering why Hanseatic merchants at times invested substantially more into a conflict than what they could possibly gain from it. #RetroConflictsInspirations #twitterstorians
Daniel Lord Smail: The Consumption of Justice. Emotions, Publicity, and Legal Culture in Marseille, 1264-1423, Ithaka 2013.