Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In thinking about the Church as an institution, this chapter argues that there is a need for a more imaginative approach. Previous approaches to ‘institutions’ are critiqued for the various ways in which they fall short of understanding a phenomenon like the medieval Church, and instead this chapter is inspired by Avner Greif’s argument that an institution can only be understood if one considers how it is used and the ‘transactions’ that take place within it. Looking particularly at visitations and synods, the chapter argues that the expectations surrounding institutions were the product of a symbiotic relationship between those inside organizations and those outside; that in thinking of the medieval Church as ‘an institution’ we need to think about the interaction of lay, clerical and episcopal desire and agency, rather than one top-down monolith.

Keywords: institutions, social theory, visitation, synods, bishops

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.