My research interests are in the intellectual, social and political history of Britain and Europe in the late medieval and early modern periods (c. 1400-1650), and in everyday life and material culture in pre-industrial Europe. A chief interest is in the comparative study of political, constitutional and legal thought and political culture in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe. I have published a number of articles and chapters on the subject, and I am currently completing a study of political thought and political practices in the polities of eastern and central Europe in the sixteenth-century, with particular focus on the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
In my research I test the validity of one of the most persistent assertions about early modern Europe, namely the existence of a deep social and economic divide between its eastern and westerns regions, with a consequent polarity and incongruity in the sphere of political theory and political culture. I use the comparative approach to look at key concepts and ideas present in late medieval and sixteenth-century political, constitutional and legal discourses, and study their origins and evolution, how they related to the existing socio-economic structures, and how they were used by thinkers and politicians to understand and explain politics and social relations, to provide justification for political action or social policy, or to gain insight into the future of societies and states. I focus in particular on the idea of common good, the notion of popular sovereignty, the principle of rule of law, the right to resist the monarch and the concept of civic duty, which is often seen as an epitome or pinnacle of the late Renaissance ruling classes’ social and political ideology and as a pivotal element of their world-view.