Conclusion: And Your Petitioners, &c.

Henry Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This Conclusion summarises the key arguments from the volume relating to the definition, chronology, and impacts of petitions and petitioning. The longevity and ubiquity of petitionary practices in Europe and North America can be broadly explained by the adaptability, mutability, and ambiguity of these genres, which have been an enduringly unstable, dynamic, and unpredictable form of interaction between people and power across the centuries. The Conclusion then pivots to considering possible future directions for studies of petitions and petitioning. The studies in the volume should be placed in a broader global context, enabling comparison and contrast with petitions and related practices from other parts of the globe. The role of petitions within and between empires would be another promising line of research, including the transition from imperial petition systems to the use of petitioning in newly independent post-colonial states. Conceptually, it might be fruitful to think of petitions as a ‘technology’, while new methodologies enabling the linguistic analysis, spatial mapping, or quantification of petitions on a large scale might be usefully employed. Finally, while this volume has focused on petitions and petitioning, we should not forget the importance of petitioners and their ‘voice’, which echoes down the ages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPetitions and Petitioning in Europe and North America: From the Late Medieval Period to the Present
EditorsRichard Huzzey, Maartje Janse, Henry Miller, Joris Oddens, Brodie Waddell
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press/ British Academy
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780197267721
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2024

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
PublisherOxford University Press/ British Academy

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