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von Heusinger, S. Von “antwerk“ bis “zunft“. Methodische Überlegungen zu den Zünften im Mittelalter. Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, 37(1), 37-71. https://doi.org/10.3790/zhf.37.1.37
von Heusinger, Sabine "Von “antwerk“ bis “zunft“. Methodische Überlegungen zu den Zünften im Mittelalter" Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 37.1, , 37-71. https://doi.org/10.3790/zhf.37.1.37
von Heusinger, Sabine: Von “antwerk“ bis “zunft“. Methodische Überlegungen zu den Zünften im Mittelalter, in: Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, vol. 37, iss. 1, 37-71, [online] https://doi.org/10.3790/zhf.37.1.37

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Von “antwerk“ bis “zunft“. Methodische Überlegungen zu den Zünften im Mittelalter

von Heusinger, Sabine

Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, Vol. 37 (2010), Iss. 1 : pp. 37–71

3 Citations (CrossRef)

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1PD Dr. Sabine von Heusinger, Walter-Flex-Str. 3, 70619 Stuttgart.

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Abstract

This article argues for a new methodology in order to enquire into the field of medieval guilds, beginning with a taxonomy of form and function that illuminates both the complexity of such organizations and their kaleidoscopic roles in medieval society. First, evidence indicates that the umbrella term “guild” includes four different aspects: the craft-guild, the fraternity, the corporate guild and the military unit. In Strasbourg and Zurich, for example, two “ideal” cities in respect of guilds, these four aspects can be clearly distinguished. Yet, they may also be discerned in a variety of medieval vernacular sources. Second, one must consider the four different functions performed by guilds: professional representation, religious and charitable service, political participation and tasks of defense. Finally, careful source analysis indicates that the four aspects described above were not identical with the four functions. Instead, this article reveals fascinating overlapping and mixing in the context of everyday medieval life. Future research should pay more attention to the heterogeneity of guild functions and their roles as this may promise new and intriguing insights not only into the organizations' services and self-perception, but also into medieval socio-economic structures (even in towns where guilds had been banned, e.g. at Nuremberg in 1349 or at Frankfurt in 1366). By enriching our comprehension of guilds, that most significant social group in medieval cities, new approaches and methodologies will also deepen and expand our understanding of premodern societies more broadly.