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Journal > Volumes > 39 (2008) / 3 (Autumn)
Beggars at the Gates: Banishment and Exclusion in Sixteenth-Century Ulm
Jason Phillip Coy
College of Charleston

Banishment was vital to the efforts of the town council in the south German imperial city of Ulm to punish and control vagrants during the sixteenth century. While the efforts of Ulm’s authorities to expel impoverished outsiders often faltered in the face of the determined recidivism offered by these seemingly powerless offenders, the local magistrates never despaired of banishing the alien poor. The continued centrality of banishment stems from the role expulsion played in the council’s attempts to regulate the social and spatial boundaries of its domain by relegating deviants and outsiders. The ritual expulsion of vagrants purged the territory of marginal elements and served to display the margin between inclusion in and exclusion from the urban community, as well as the magistrates’ authority to police these boundaries. 

Pages: 619 - 638