On April 25th Franz-Josef Arlinghaus (Universität Bielefeld) will share his ideas on the dynamics of social change in premodern cities. The event is co-hosted by the ACUH and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRSA), and will take place between 15:00 and 17:00 in E1.02 at the Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis, followed by drinks. As stepping stone for a planned collaborative project on the dynamics of social change in several premodern societies in Europe, Asia and the Near East, this lecture will consider the case of fraternities in late medieval Cologne, in particular the so-called Richerzeche or ‘Fraternity of the rich’. Starting with its internal structure, it is argued that this fraternity, through inner differentiation, produced an estate-like group within 12th/13th century Cologne that occupied a central role in running the city. This ‘estate-production’ should rather be seen as the outcome of inherent dynamics linked to certain typical structures of premodern society than to, for example, the longing for more independence from the lord of the city. The second part of the lecture will subsequently focus on the way in which this (relatively new) fraternity placed itself (or was placed) within the ‘architecture’ of power within Cologne. Again the question will be raised whether the desire to power or – to draw once more on the central thesis – inherent dynamics driven by certain social structures played the most important role in the changing position of this fraternity.