Tenth-Century Courts at Mâcon and the Perils of Structuralist History: Re-reading Burgundian Judicial Institutions 1
ByStephen D. White
Pages 32

To demonstrate that judicial institutions in the Maconnais suddenly changed dramatically after 980, Georges Duby had to show as well that until 980, what he called "the essential nature of the court" in this region remained "unchanged". Duby's structuralist history implies, the assumption that evidence about courts and dispute-processing must be incorporated into the several contrasting structuralist models analyzed as contrasting models is open to criticism at several different levels. In a 1971 preface to a new edition of Victor Turner's 1957 book on Schism and Continuity, Max Gluckman drew attention to Turner's efforts to break out of an earlier style of structuralist-functionalist anthropology that closely resembles the structuralist history Duby produced in his study of the Maconnais. The argument that during the tenth century the courts of the counts of Macon were in the process of changing significantly is clearly incompatible with Duby's own account of the history of Burgundian judicial institutions.