Seminar with Associate Professor Anders Sundell (University of Gothenburg)
Please note the time of the seminar: 8:45 am.
The title of presentation: Blood is Thicker than Water: Family Assets and Leader Deposition in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (co-authored with Andrej Kokkonen, Suthan Krishnarajan, and Jørgen Møller)
A large literature in comparative politics revolves around autocratic stability in general and irregular leader removal in particular. In this paper, we show that in medieval and early modern Europe, family was a key asset for monarchs. Sons and daughters as well as brothers and sisters offered a way of bolstering the position of the lineage, thereby shielding monarchs from challenges from their elite groups or from foreign powers. This is demonstrated in a statistical analysis of 27 major European monarchies spanning the time period 1000-1799, which enlists new data on royal offspring and siblings. These findings not only elucidate power dynamics in the medieval and early modern world of dynastic politics, they also have implications for present-day patterns of autocratic stability in countries where impersonal modern states have not made headway and where kinship ties therefore retain their historical functions and importance.