Urban networks and emerging states (Blockmans & Heerma van Voss)Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz
This #RetroConflictsInspirations takes a step back from individual Hanseatic case studies (which currently has a leading role in the daily research of today's @retro_conflicts's twitterstorian), and looks at the geographical and cultural context of the North Sea & Baltics, and themes of natural boundaries & human agency, as inspired by the discussion in Blockmans & Heerma van Voss, ‘Urban networks and emerging states’ (in particular pp.10-16) where the concept of a N-Sea culture is placed alongside the impact of urban networks specifically N-Sea & Baltic coastal cities as "nodal points of an area characterized by intensive exchanges, cultural interaction, competition and innovation."
This connection to the sea remains a central point, as demonstrated by referencing F. Braudel re: the Mediterranean being, despite its natural boundaries, a man-made entity, as "[it] has no unity but that created by the movements of men, the relationships they imply, and the routes they follow". This focus on cultural links, urban networks & geography is, of course, important in Hanseatic research, just as the authors' thoughts on the matter: "[...] it seems very difficult to isolate [N-Sea Culture] either from its Baltic or Atlantic connections. If anything, the overlap between the two economic systems … may then circumscribe the specific North Sea Culture."
W.P. Blockmans and L. Heerma van Voss, ‘Urban networks and emerging states in the North Sea and Baltic Areas: a maritime culture?’, in: Roding, J., and L. Heerma van Voss, The North Sea and Culture