By Brian Elliott
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Extra resources for The City: Patterns of domination and conflict
Tax obligations were to be rationalized, so that they would be more predictable and calculable. And since profit and economic power were derived from city markets, the associations of citizens determined to transfer their administration from the city lord or lords to the new civic authorities or to a licensed 'corporation' of those who dealt in specific goods. Finally, there was the desire to establish an effective militia to defend the town and later, to extend its political and economic influence.
17 But often the concessions were wrung from unwilling superiors who recognized that their authority had already been usurped long before there were any open or public moves for reform, and they acquiesed The Medieval Cities: Struggles for Domination 41 only because they lacked the force with which to confront an organized and armed citizenry. The townsmen frequently found themselves in open conflict with the church, for while some of the secular lords might have been quick enough to see the material advantages of trade, the ecclesiastical authorities were less enthusiastic about commerce and its common accompaniment, usury.
Think about the power of the oil companies or industrial giants like ITT or General Motors, or better still for our purposes, think about the power of the corporation in single-industry towns. That kind of 'domination' is important, crucially important, in many of the more recently urbanized parts of the world 5° and generally much more obvious and significant now than in the period when Weber wrote. But this type of domination interested Weber less than the other kind: domination involving 'authority'.
The City: Patterns of domination and conflict by Brian Elliott