Monday, June 9, 2008

Two from Cox: Sumptuary Laws and Sovereignty

Noel Cox, Auckland University of Technology, has posted two papers. Tudor Sumptuary Laws and Academical Dress: An Act Against Wearing of Costly Apparel 1509 and an Act for Reformation of Excess in Apparel 1533 appeared in Transactions of the Burgon Society (2006). Here's the abstract:
In the United Kingdom, as in other modern liberal democracies, there are few, if any, estrictions upon one's choice of habiliment. There have in the past, however, been repeated attempts in most countries and civilisations - from the Romans (and indeed earlier civilisations) onwards - to strictly control aspects of apparel, by legislation. They were motivated by political, moral or economic considerations. The frequency of such legislation is a sign both of the perceived importance of such measures, and of their failure. Yet the authorities persisted, despite their inability to suppress extravagance, or control expenditure.
There are no general sumptuary laws now in effect in the United Kingdom. None ever applied specifically to academical dress, but some did include provisions which expressly applied to graduates and undergraduates. Franklyn cited one such Act, 24 Henry VIII c 13 (1533) as authorising all doctors to wear scarlet, as well as claiming that the MA and BD are thereby entitled to a black chimere, or tabard. The time of King Henry VIII is particularly important with respect to the development of sumptuary laws - as it was also for the evolution of academical dress.
While Franklyn's interpretation of this particular Act may be disputed, hitherto a study of this aspect of academical dress has been inhibited by the general unavailability of copies of the complete statute. Sumptuary laws in general and the ideological justifications for such laws are beyond the scope of this paper, the purpose of which is two-fold. First, it is intended to offer, for the first time, the full text of the 1533 statute, with a short commentary. For the purposes of contextualisation and comparison, an earlier sumptuary law is also transcribed in full, also with commentary. Second, it will address the contentious question of whether the Act of 1533 does in fact allow doctors to wear scarlet.
Cox's second paper is The Continuing Question of Sovereignty and the Sovereign Military Order of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. Here's the abstract:
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is the only organisation currently recognised, albeit by a minority of States, as quasi-sovereign. The article begins with a brief look at the concepts of sovereignty and statehood as traditionally understood. The case of the Order of Malta is then examined in its historical context, and the basis for its claimed sovereignty assessed. Recent reconsideration of the concept of State sovereignty, and challenges to the State, are then considered. The lessons from the example of the Order of Malta for the relationship of territory and statehood are evaluated.

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