Introduction
Pauper policies
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The opening chapter explains the book’s purpose, to understand the practice of the poor laws in England. It provides a history of the main poor laws, paying particular attention to the period 1780 to 1850. The introduction will explain why this research does not follow the direction of recent research about individuals’ experiences of welfare receipt, instead making the case for the rethinking and repositioning of the importance of relief administration. The book unpicks the dynamism of pauper policies: how they emerged, were taken up, implemented and developed in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. This is achieved using a ‘policy process’ approach developed by social scientists, which allows for an understanding of the dynamism of policy, as well as for the identification and examination distinct parts of the policy process. The chapter then introduces the context of the research, southern England, an area of varied employment opportunities but immense poverty in the late eighteenth century. The introduction finishes with descriptions of the remaining chapters, guiding the reader through the book.

Pauper policies

Poor law practice in England, 1780– 1850

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