Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COLEX (Coopetition and Legislation in the Spanish Netherlands (1598-1665))
Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-09-30
Before March 2020, I have had the opportunity to take advantage of the workshop held in Madrid on 3 February 2020 to reflect on the notion of coopetition from an interdisciplinary point of view with book historians, legal historians and historians of politics and institutions. This allowed us to clearly realise that situations of cooperation and competition obviously existed to a very large extent in the 15th, 16th or 17th centuries. However, situations of coopetition were fewer but still more frequent when the political, economic or cultural ecosystems were disrupted by a novelty ; the previous relationships had to be reconfigured. This is notoriously the case with the introduction of printing in Western Europe at the end of the 15th century, which forced the actors in the sector to collaborate while simultaneously being competitors.
From March 2020, we have chosen to reorient our research agenda due to the general lockdown in Europe and the closure of archive centres and libraries everywhere in Europe.
An alternative way was considered to take into account the notion of ""coopetition"" while adjusting it to a different research topic that I was able to tackle from home. It was decided to focus on the dissemination of 16th and 17th century legislation in the Habsburg Netherlands and to study the relationship between printers and political authorities at that time. This change of orientation made it possible to assess the competitive business relationships between printers in order to gain the favor of the central government. Nevertheless, I found that these same printers could largely collaborate and sell each other the official documents they had printed.
This reorientation of the project due to the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed me to (re)discover a series of archives that have already been digitised but little used by historians of political communication or legal historians. These are mainly the archives of the printing workshop of the family Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp, one of the most important ones during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Because I had to return to Belgium during the lockdown, I took advantage of the partial reopening of the archives and libraries from the spring of 2020 to further explore the archives related to printing and communication of the legislation. I was thus able to uncover the - yet unknown - date of death of the official printer of the ordinances of the Spanish sovereigns in the Habsburg Netherlands. An article is currently underway for publication in a peer-reviewed journal (De Gulden Passer).
I also launched a series of webinars in October 2020 with speakers from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain in an attempt to continue to offer a (virtual) space for debate on these issues. More than 120 people have registered to date. The last webinar will take place in April 2021.
Exploitation and dissemination
- 1 workshop held in Madrid (February 2020) : this event gave the opportunity to 5 researchers specialists of the 15th, 16th and the 17th C. to reflect on the concept of coopetition
- webinar « Images, Politics & Communication » (3 lectures, 3 speakers)
- webinar « Print and Power during the Early Modern Era » (7 lectures, 8 speakers, 130 people registered)
- 1 article in a peer-reviewed journal
- 1 Twitter account (@COLEX_project, 88 followers)"
This COLEX spin-off project is called Imprim@Lex and has already attracted the attention of several Belgian and foreign researchers. The future activities of this project will lead to the creation of an online platform where the digitised collection will be accessible as well as articles intended for specialists (scholars) and non specialists of this topic (high schools students, adults, etc.).