The legal concept of sovereignty does not capture foreign trade relations, networks or economic clout. This shortcoming has resulted from a historical reduction of its meaning since the 1600s. This project will analyze legal concepts of sovereignty that developed before that time, within six networked cities of commerce (Bruges, Southampton, Rouen, Lübeck, Toulouse and Florence). In the period of 1400-1620 cities were interconnected through trade routes, correspondence and diplomacy. Legal concepts of sovereignty were crafted bottom-up and were more encompassing than the present-day legal concept of sovereignty, also for economic relations. In the process, these concepts absorbed changes within the cities and in the economic relations between cities. In the project proposed, agent-based and network methods will be used to track down these changes. The dynamism of conceptual change at the level of individual cities related to commercial, political and social developments, which will be assessed with agent-based modelling. These developments influenced institutional set-ups, constitutional approaches, the organization of trade and policies of access toward foreigners. At the level of networks between cities, dynamics impacting on sovereignty concepts related to foreign relations and yielded features different to developments within cities. Network analysis will make it possible to detect the dispersal and weight of sovereignty concepts and whether some concepts underpinned a transnational field of sovereignty. Causal patterns underlying change will be the outcome of this research into the cities and their networks, and these patterns will be used to create an updated legal concept of economic sovereignty.
- HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) Main Programme