1st Edition

Everyday Political Objects From the Middle Ages to the Contemporary World

Edited By Christopher Fletcher Copyright 2021
    316 Pages 70 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    316 Pages 70 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Everyday Political Objects examines a series of historical case studies across a very broad timescale, using objects as a means to develop different approaches to understanding politics where both internal and external definitions of the political prove inadequate.

    Materiality and objects have gradually made their way into the historian’s toolbox in recent years, but the distinctive contribution that a set of methods developed for the study of objects can make to our understanding of politics has yet to be explored. This book shows how everyday objects play a certain role in politics, which is specific to material things. It provides case studies which re-orientate the view of the political in a way that is distinct from, but complementary to, the study of political institutions, the social history of politics and the analysis of discourse. Each chapter shows, in a distinctive and innovative way, how historians might change their approach to politics by incorporating objects into their methodology.

    Analysing case studies from France, the Congo, Burkina Faso, Romania and Britain between the early Middle Ages and the present day makes this study the perfect tool for students and scholars in the disciplines of history, art history, political science, anthropology and archaeology.


    Chapter 7 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781003147428

    1. Introduction: Useful Objects

    Christopher Fletcher

    2. Rings of Power: The Interpretation of Early Medieval Objects of Adornment

    Julie Renou

    3. The Practical and Symbolic Uses of the Medieval Horn: From Power Object to Common Instrument

    Luc Bourgeois

    4. A History of Domestic Disorder: The French Royal Household in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century

    Gil Bartholeyns

    5. The Prince and His Coffer: The Material Functions and Symbolic Power of an Everyday Political Object at the End of the Middle Ages

    Jean-Baptiste Santamaria

    6. Teapots, Fans and Snuffboxes: The Portable Politics of Gender and Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain

    Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding

    7. Wooden Shoes and Wellington Boots: The Politics of Footwear in Georgian Britain.

    Matthew McCormack

    8. The Fan during the French Revolution: From the Elite to the People

    Mathilde Semal

    9. Resisting with Objects? Seditious Political Objects and Their ‘Agency’ in Restoration France (1814-1830)

    Emmanuel Fureix

    10. A Sonorous Politics of Everyday Objects: Coal Workers’ Charivaris during the Anzin Strike of 1884

    Adrien Quièvre

    11. Political Fashion: Elegance as Subversion in the Congos of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

    Manuel Charpy

    12. ‘Citizen Browning’: The Banality of a Revolutionary Object, c. 1905-c. 1912

    Eric Fournier

    13. Bringing Audible Propaganda into the Everyday: The Politicization of the Phonograph Record from its Origins to the SERP, 1888-2000

    Jonathan Thomas

    14. Image, Voice and Voivodes: Communist Diafilm in Romania, 1950-1989

    Alexandra Ilina

    15. The Trajectory of a Spear: The Materiality of an Everyday Political Object in North-Western Burkina

    Laurence Douny


    Christopher Fletcher is a Chargé de recherche (Associate Research Professor) with the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) affiliated to the University of Lille. He specializes in late medieval political culture and the history of masculinity. His books include Richard II: Manhood, Youth, and Politics, 1377–99 (2008) and The Palgrave Handbook of Masculinity and Political Culture in Europe (2018).