The second part of Barbara Abou-El-Haj’s book was to address the ways in which the distinct socio-political structure of the city of Amiens affected the construction of the cathedral.
Drawing on the work of Ronald Hubscher, Pierre Desportes, and John S. Ott, Abou-El-Haj was to re-examine the role of history and collective memory in the projection of episcopal authority in the town of Amiens.
Abou-El-Haj sought to overturn the idea that the relations between the town of Amiens and the cathedral chapter in the thirteenth century were cooperative and consensual in regard to the construction of the cathedral.
Among founders of the Amiens commune were a group of wealthy men in service to the count or the bishop who had supervised or controlled monopolies from which they had amassed fortunes, and who seized communal power after 1117:
Barbara Abou-El-Haj left this portion of her analysis in inchoate form – an undeveloped series of notes, questions, and observations.