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What explains the rapid growth of state power in early modern Europe? While most scholars have pointed to the impact of military or capitalist revolutions, Philip S. Gorski argues instead for the importance of a disciplinary revolution unleashed by the Reformation. By refining and diffusing a variety of disciplinary techniques and strategies, such as communal surveillance, control through incarceration and bureaucratic office-holding, Calvin and his followers created an infrastructure of religious governance and social control that served as a model for the rest of Europe -and the world. Gorski shows, for instance, how Calvinist-inspired social discipline contributed to the governance and pacification of Dutch society and to the rationalization and centralization of the Prussian state. He also compares religious and social disciplining as practiced by Calvinists, Lutherans and Catholics and finds that Calvinists took the disciplinary revolution much farther and faster, which helps explain the greater political strength of the Calvinist states. Written with clarity and vigour, "The Disciplinary Revolution" should be seen as a major work in European history, political science, social theory and religion.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226304847
ISBN-10: 0226304841
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 116mm x 15mm)
Pages: 264
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 5-Sep-2003
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Philip S. Gorski

Philip S. Gorski is an associate professor of sociology and director of the Max and Marianne Weber Center for Comparative Social Analysis at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is coauthor of "The German Left: Red, Green, and Beyond."

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