Book Chapter

Early modern extraterritoriality, diplomacy, and the transition to capitalism


This chapter revisits the early modern history of extraterritoriality through the angle of the social origins of diplomatic actors and the transition to agrarian capitalism in England. Doing so breaks down the classic elitist and institutionally narrow history of diplomacy, which equates extraterritoriality with ambassadorial immunity and the emergence of embassy chapels in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By focusing on class and social structures, this chapter provides a more ‘entangled’ and contested—rather than linear and homogeneous—history of extraterritoriality and its ambassadorial origins in the early modern period. Its analysis reveals important divergences between France and England in regard to their strategies of territorialisation and use of diplomats linked to their respective social property relations. For example, the rising gentry in England and the use of 'MP diplomats' is linked to the emergence of agrarian capitalism, while the rise of the aristocracy in diplomatic posts and the mix of personal and territorial sovereignty in French embassies under Louis XIV display the regime's tactics of collaboration. Therefore, new historical and sociological avenues to research early modern extraterritoriality are opened up so as to recover how various doctrines of extraterritoriality were shaped by various social groups and different jurisdictional strategies.

Attached files


Pal, Maïa

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-09-26

All rights reserved.

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Early modern extraterritoriality, diplomacy, and the transition to capitalism
This RADAR resource is Part of The extraterritoriality of law: History, theory, politics [ISBN: 9780815378587] / edited by Daniel S. Margolies, Umut Özsu, Maïa Pal, Ntina Tzouvala.


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