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The contribution of control and accountability mechanisms to the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity

11th National Competition for Economic Research Grants

Economic history

Senior Researcher : Mª Nieves Carrera Pena

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Research Centre or Institution : IE Business School. Madrid.


The objective of this research project is to analyse to what extent the mechanisms for reporting and auditing accounts contributed to the transition from the mediaeval state to the modern one. For this, it examines the organisation and management of the armies of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon at the end of the 15th and the start of the 16th centuries. The adoption of Military Ordinances in 1494, 1496 and 1503 marked a break with the previous management of "men-at-arms", based on the medieval code known as "Código de las Siete Partidas". The new ordinances designed a specific military administration model in which accountancy, reporting and auditing mechanisms played a fundamental role. The primary sources that will be studied come mainly from the General Archive of Simancas and the National Historical Archive. The examination of the archival evidence will be based on the sociological contributions of Pierre Bourdieu and Norbert Elias. With this analysis, we hope to demonstrate the thesis that mechanisms for the reporting and auditing of accounts played a decisive role in the transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era.

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