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This chapter provides basic orientation, with essential information on the physical geography and political history of the period 750–1000, outlining the main political trends in Francia, Italy, England and Spain. Though a period of extreme political instability at the highest levels of kings and emperors, complicated by the long-term impact of invaders from outside, many of the regions within kingdoms sustained an identity over many centuries. The chapter continues with a brief survey of available primary source material for the study of local societies (which is extended in the Appendix). It surveys charters, estate records, narratives (including annals, chronicles and hagiography), capitularies, law texts and liturgy.

in Neighbours and strangers
Priests as neighbours in early medieval local societies

This chapter explores the position of early medieval priests within local rural societies and the influence they had on the social cohesion of rural settlements. As pastors who taught and preached, they communicated ideas of good and bad behaviour towards relatives, neighbours and God, and in their capacity as confessors and advisors, they played an important role in settling disagreements between members of their flocks. Priests were in a unique 'hinge' position to transmit new rulings from the bishop or the royal court to local audiences, because they were generally capable of reading and understanding Latin, and were trained to translate and rephrase sophisticated knowledge into vernacular messages understandable to illiterate audiences. Priests did not only spend their days praying, preaching, performing rituals or reading books. They were firmly rooted in the lay world and often seem to have been members of local families. Their ministry usually came with landownership and, like other landowners, priests bought, sold and gave land and moveable goods. They were also active in writing charters for local people, in effect performing notarial services for them.

in Neighbours and strangers
Living and working together in the shadow of Brexit

Stories from a migrant city argues that a rethink of how the terms ‘immigration’, ‘migration’, ‘immigrant’ and ‘migrant’ are imagined and conceptualised is long overdue. It shows how moving away from a racialised local/migrant dichotomy can help to unite people on the basis of common humanity. The book also takes to task the idea that cosmopolitanism is necessarily an elite worldview: on the contrary, not only are axes of racialised difference often reinforced by the actions of economic and political elites, but, in certain spaces and at particular times, non-elite people of all backgrounds show themselves to be at ease with such difference, albeit that this is interwoven with ongoing racisms and the legacies of colonialism. Using a biographical approach and drawing on over one hundred stories and eight years of research by the author in the English city of Peterborough, Stories from a migrant city addresses the question of what Peterborough (and indeed England) stands for in the Brexit era, and to whom it belongs. Taken as a whole, the book’s tales from the city’s homes and streets, its 1970s and 1980s satellite New Towns, its older central neighbourhoods and its warehouse and food factory workplaces, together with its engagement with the cultural productions of residents, challenge middle-class condescension towards working-class cultures. They also reveal how the often-ignored stories from this and other provincial cities can be seen as gifts to richer, metropolitan places.

Philanthropy 1815–50

In the first half of the nineteenth century it was still possible to experience philanthropy simply as a feeling. But for many ‘philanthropists’ were lined up with ‘statesmen’ as the people with a responsibility to address social problems at home and more directly political ones abroad. There was a strong feeling that the British were the most philanthropic people in the world. Philanthropy’s opponents, however, were not silenced. Philanthropy was under suspicion for too often disobeying the tenets of political economy – or, alternatively, for being too wedded to them. The Times mounted attack after attack on those it described as mere talking philanthropists; they were, amongst other deficiencies, insufficiently manly, effeminate. A particular target was what Dickens described as ‘telescopic philanthropy’, a concern for those at the farthest reaches of the world rather than those on your doorstep. The campaigns against slavery, particularly after British slavery emancipation in 1833, came under unrelenting scrutiny. This came to a head with Thomas Carlyle’s ‘Occasional discourse on the Negro question’ where he spared no invective against philanthropy in all its guises. John Stuart Mill made a temperate reply. By mid-century there was what one journal described as ‘The Reaction against Philanthropy’.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
The impact of the French Revolution, 1789–1815

The French Revolution was generally welcomed by those of a philanthropic disposition. The chapter opens with a cameo role for William Wordsworth who planned a politically radical journal to be called ‘The Philanthropist’. Robert Southey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Godwin also engaged closely with philanthropy and with how it could transform society. The government’s repressive measures had effectively silenced them by 1795. Friendly Societies and trade unions built the word ‘philanthropic’ into their titles – and continued to do so through the nineteenth century, testimony that philanthropy and mutualism might have cohered. In the 1790s, however, the tide turned against philanthropy. With Britain at war from 1793, it was no time to be saying that you should love all humanity or be a ‘citizen of the world’. The Anti-Jacobin Review and William Cobbett were philanthropy’s most outspoken opponents. They broadened their attack on radicals to turn it against William Wilberforce and others, strongly evangelical, who were campaigning for an end to the slave trade. The clash between supporters and opponents of the slave trade forged a powerful link between evangelicals and philanthropy, their opponents extending their wrath to suggest that evangelical philanthropists were undermining key characteristics of the nation.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
Urban citizenship struggles and the racialised outsider

Opening with the story of a long-term resident who remembered once being a newcomer, the fourth chapter moves from the workplace to the neighbourhood. Contestations over place are central. Class, ‘race’ and the right to the city are all at stake. The chapter focuses on the life histories of people who either moved to or grew up in parts of Peterborough that have housed new international migrant arrivals since at least the 1940s. Stories of working-class lives in these neighbourhoods include inter-ethnic mixing, conviviality and racisms. Stereotypes have emerged about ‘eastern Europeans’ that ignore the diversity of subjectivities and identities among the more recent migrants. Demands made by recently arrived international migrants for a voice in city governance and for housing and workplace justice can be seen as struggles over the nature of citizenship. In the context of the ongoing multi-scale quasi-colonial governance of ‘difference’ in Britain, the chapter argues that such citizenship struggles need to be understood alongside (and in relation to) those of other working-class people, including long-term residents and migrants from elsewhere in the UK, and both ethnic minorities and the white British ethnic majority.

in Stories from a migrant city

The theme of this chapter is that historians of philanthropy have started out with a definition of what ‘philanthropy’ is, even if the word was never used in their centuries, and proceeded from there. Prime examples are the two major histories of philanthropy in England, dating from the 1950s and 1960s, W. K. Jordan’s Philanthropy in England 1480–1660 and David Owen’s English Philanthropy 1660–1960. For the nineteenth century there is one history that excludes anything where the gifting of private money was not vital, another that includes social reform movements, and yet another that defines philanthropy simply as ‘kindness’. None of them are alert to what contemporaries thought of ‘philanthropy’. I go on to consider the ways in which in recent years historians have turned to the anthropological model of gift relationships to understand philanthropy and how concepts of ‘civil society’ have generated new thinking.

in The reputation of philanthropy since 1750
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Following the Pantigate controversy RTÉ, the national broadcaster, paid compensation to people named on a Saturday night chat show as homophobic. The compensation was paid out of television licence fees, without consultation. This chapter examines the broadcasting implications and political debates that followed.

in The history of marriage equality in Ireland
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The Afterword celebrates the communal practice that is riddling—whether composing, solving, interpreting, or editing. It aims to draw together the individual voices of the riddles and of the chapters of this volume into a communal unity that celebrates diverse methods and perspectives. This book’s sections—Words, Ideas, Interactions—arguably move, flow, collapse inward, and reconstitute themselves through the act of interpreting, just as the riddles themselves invite constant re-reading and re-interpretation of clues and solutions. Hence, the Afterword also maps out possible directions for future work in the field of riddle studies: more engagement with the Latin collections and comparative work on Scandinavian and Celtic riddle traditions, as well as critical engagement with identity, especially identity informed by disability, race and gender theories. Finally, it suggests that the insights into daily life offered through the riddles’ subversive concealments and manoeuvrings make them ideal texts for the study of identity in all its complexity.

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition

This chapter proposes a new grouping of Exeter Book riddles which share a semantic and metaphorical interest in ‘craft’ and ‘sound’: the acoustic craft riddles. In these riddles, worked objects speak, ring, and resound, while the practices which transform raw materials into artefacts are often euphonious and resonant in their own right. The soundscape of the craftsman’s workshop – its musical and melodious contexts – and the gifting of sounding voice to worked objects opens up the riddles to a celebration of the most meaningful of all audible human gifts: language, both spoken and written. This chapter explores how the acoustic craft riddles offer us a new critical picture of riddlic textuality which puts the material into a playful and rich relationship with the aural: sound and language can be crafted, like raw materials, in the production of aural artefacts. The riddles do not only rely on the voices of their poets; their linguistic mechanisms presuppose the social and communal value of the text within the word exchange: they leave space for the reader’s own voice to resonate in response and to re-craft solutions and propositions through the shaping power of their own voices.

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition