chapter  1
33 Pages

Cristóbal de Villalón: Language, Education, and the Absolutist State

ByMalcolm K. Read

This chapter focuses on the strategic role of the educational apparatus within the historical processes. It explores how Cristobal de Villalon's presupposition in the gradual devolution of society, from a state of natural perfection, contaminates his attitude toward the "natural" meaning of words. The first part of the sixteenth century witnessed the emergence of a homogeneous, centralized court society, straddling a newly created divide between the private and public sectors. In the process, a system in which social relations were secured on the basis of elementary forms of domination, such as personal loyalty and allegiance, gradually gave way to one characterized by objective, impersonal mechanisms. In a society characterized by increasing social mobility, the Absolutist State will seek to impose itself through impersonal but internalized values, as opposed to the personal violence that prevailed in medieval society. Social divisions are most effective when marked and reinforced by language.