, it began to assign to the newly mobilised a role which had previously been reserved for the priesthood. Local preachers were laymen and laywomen, who extended their public identity from their existing familial and occupational roles to include that of the preacher and leader of a congregation in worship.
But whilst religious belief and practice may be intense at the start of the twenty-first century, it is both fragmented and a series of minority identities, rather than a comprehensive national identity. The disputes which took place in the
were designated a separate
‘nation’ within their various host societies, permitted to have their
own religious and legal institutions, and yet subjected to all manner of
occupational, fiscal, residential and political discriminations. The subordinate
status of Jews had left most Jews in poverty, vulnerable to external persecution
from the Church, state and people, and dependent internally on their own
rabbinical and financial elites. The Enlightenment project
be found in the most extravagant display of women's ball gowns.
In public life, whether economic, religious, or political, dress is a constituent part and construction of how people see themselves, and how they see the other members of their society – a vision of a world which that dress at the same time constitutes. It is not only the prominent and the dominant who come in bright, or not so bright, feathers. The construction, cultivation, and display of external form is a part of all social life, and is an inherent dimension of the cultivation