Kelche, Pelze und Korallen

Pfandobjekte als soziale Marker im städtischen Gefüge Wiens im 15. Jahrhundert

  • Elisabeth Gruber (Autor/in)


Credit relationships represent specific forms of social interactions between money-lending actors. The actors involved are expected to trust each other both institutionally and personally, which also touches on the aspect of security. Objects – both mobile and immobile – are becoming the focus of interest as key components of security. Objects used to strengthen the relationship of trust refer to the social and cultural dimensions of credit transactions. Here, this aspect is be examined using the example of the municipal financial administration of the city of Vienna.

Beyond the representative character of the objects, different categories of security practice seem to rein­force each other. Social status and creditworthiness are activated just as much as the possibilities of the objects’ usability. It will therefore be important to ask what role is attributed to these proxy or pawned objects on the basis of the cultural significance of their materials, their form or their contexts of origin, and what significance or function they had for specific credit practices in the social frame of reference and within the framework of the interaction of the actors involved.

Keywords Urban History; Social Relations; Materiality; Objects