‘Settling down’
Masculinity, class and the rite of return in a transnational community
in Emigrant homecomings
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John Tosh argues that in Britain, domestic respectability assumed hegemonic status over competing, rougher conceptions of masculinity from the 1830s through the 1860s. The path to power and privilege had shifted in England and Canada as the commercial and industrial classes took power. Early in the nineteenth century many English and Irish merchants had sold out their businesses and emigrated to Canada to become big fish in the colonial gentry pond. For emigrants the importance of marriage as a rite of passage lay in the recognition that they were planting roots in the New World. The experience of Robert McLeese, sojourner and emigrant, who went out to the frontier, stripped away Old World contacts and culture and moved beyond the reach of the transnational community. A transnational network provides migrants with many of their opportunities and much of their social life.

Emigrant homecomings

The return movement of emigrants, 1600–2000

Editor: Marjory Harper

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