Beginning with the work of social historians examining how the nobility functioned as an estate, a new vision of nobility emerged in which nobles were not only individual political actors but also members of families, whose goals were as much about dynastic prosperity as political authority or social privilege. Rather than viewing the great events of the early modern era such as the emergence of Renaissance science or the Reformation's religious upheaval as weakening the nobility's social position. The transformation of the study of nobility is the subject of the opening historiographic chapter by Hamish Scott, The Early Modern European Nobility and its Contested Historiographies. The contested spaces of the early modern European nobility challenge Whiggish notions of modernity. Seen in this light, the development of European history was not linear, but a variable and dynamic product of multiple actors working together and apart, pursuing individual goals and desires, and ultimately producing something greater than any could have imagined.