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Youth, leisure and identity in the inter-war years
Author: Melanie Tebbutt

This original and fresh approach to the emotions of adolescence focuses on the leisure lives of working-class boys and young men in the inter-war years. Being Boys challenges many stereotypes about their behaviour. It offers new perspectives on familiar and important themes in interwar social and cultural history, ranging from the cinema and mass consumption to boys' clubs, personal advice pages, street cultures, dancing, sexuality, mobility and the body. It draws on many autobiographies and personal accounts and is particularly distinctive in offering an unusual insight into working-class adolescence through the teenage diaries of the author's father, which are interwoven with the book's broader analysis of contemporary leisure developments. Being Boys will be of interest to scholars and students across the humanities and social sciences and is also relevant to those teaching and studying in the fields of child development, education, and youth and community studies.

The biography of an insurgent woman
Author: Maureen Wright

Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy (1833–1918) was one of the most significant pioneers of the British women's emancipation movement, though her importance is little recognised. Wolstenholme Elmy referred to herself as an ‘initiator’ of movements, and she was at the heart of every campaign Victorian feminists conducted — her most well-known position being that of secretary of the Married Women's Property Committee from 1867–82. A fierce advocate of human rights, as the secretary of the Vigilance Association for the Defence of Personal Rights, Wolstenholme Elmy earned the nickname of the ‘parliamentary watch-dog’ from Members of Parliament anxious to escape her persistent lobbying. Also a feminist theorist, she believed wholeheartedly in the rights of women to freedom of their person, and was the first woman ever to speak from a British stage on the sensitive topic of conjugal rape. Wolstenholme Elmy engaged theoretically with the rights of the disenfranchised to exert force in pursuit of the vote, and Emmeline Pankhurst lauded her as ‘first’ among the infamous suffragettes of the Women's Social and Political Union. As a lifelong pacifist, however, she resigned from the WSPU Executive in the wake of increasingly violent activity from 1912. A prolific correspondent, journalist, speaker and political critic, Wolstenholme Elmy left significant resources, believing they ‘might be of value’ to historians. This book draws on a great deal of this documentation to produce a portrait that does justice to her achievements as a lifelong ‘Insurgent woman’.

Author: Cathryn Spence

This text provides the first full-length consideration of women’s economic roles in early modern Scottish towns. Drawing on tens of thousands of cases entered into burgh court litigation between 1560 and 1640 in Edinburgh, Dundee, Haddington, and Linlithgow, Women, credit, and debt explores how Scottish women navigated their courts and their communities. This includes a consideration of the lifecycle stage of these women, and whether those active in litigation were wives, widows, or singlewomen. The employments and by-employments that brought these women to court, and the roles these women had in the economy, are also considered. In particular, this book explores the roles of women as merchants and merchandisers, producers and sellers of ale, landladies, moneylenders, and servants. Comparing the Scottish experience to that of England and Europe, Spence shows that through the latter half of the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth century women were conspicuously active in burgh court litigation and, by extension, were active and engaged participants in the early modern Scottish economy. This book reevaluates what we thought we knew about women in the early modern period. As such, it will be of particular interest to those studying and teaching Scottish social and economic history and valuable to anyone studying the history of work and gender. It will also appeal to all feminists who have an interest in how women negotiate economic roles.

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Women and family in England, c. 1945–2000
Author: Angela Davis

This book examines women’s experiences of motherhood in England in the years between 1945 and 2000. Based on a new body of 160 oral history interviews, the book offers the first comprehensive historical study of the experience of motherhood in the second half of the twentieth century. Motherhood is an area where a number of discourses and practices meet. The book therefore forms a thematic study looking at aspects of mothers’ lives such as education, health care, psychology, labour market trends and state intervention. Looking through the prism of motherhood provides a way of understanding the complex social changes that have taken place in the post-war world. This book will be essential reading for students and researchers in the field of twentieth-century British social history. However it will also be of interest to scholars in related fields and a general readership with an interest in British social history, and the history of family and community in modern Britain.

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Performing embodiment, emotion and identity in Ireland, 1800-45
Author: Katie Barclay

Men on trial explores how the Irish perform ‘the self’ within the early nineteenth-century courtroom and its implications for law, society and nation. The history of masculinity is now a burgeoning field, as the way men created and understood their identities is explored in different contexts, from marriage to the military, and with increasing nuance. This monograph contributes to this discussion through an exploration of how men from different social groups created, discussed and enacted manliness in the context of the Irish justice system. Drawing on new methodologies from the history of emotion, as well as theories of performativity and performative space, it emphasises that manliness was not simply a cultural ideal, but something practised, felt and embodied. Moving through courtroom architecture to clothing, displays of emotion, speech-making, storytelling, humour and character, Men on trial explores how, through its performance, gender could be a creative dynamic in productions of power, destabilising traditional lines of authority. Targeted at scholars in Irish history, law and gender studies, this book argues that justice was not simply determined through weighing evidence, but through weighing men, their bodies, behaviours and emotions. In a context where the processes of justice were publicised in the press for the nation and the world, manliness and its role in the creation of justice became implicated in the making of national identity. Irish character was honed in the Irish court and through the press.

Sexual transgression in the age of the flapper
Author: Lucy Bland

This book looks at the highly publicised, sensational trials of several young female protagonists in the period 1918-1924. These cases, all presented by the press as morality tales involving drugs, murder, adultery, miscegenation and sexual perversion, are used as a prism through which to identify concerns about modern femininity. The book first examines a libel case, brought by a well-known female dancer against a maverick right-wing MP for the accusation of lesbianism. One aspect of this libel trial involved the drawing up of battle-lines in relation to the construction of a new, post-war womanhood. The book then looks at two inquests and three magistrate-court trials that involved women and drugs; young women in relationships with Chinese men were also effectively in the dock. One way of accessing court proceedings has been via the account of the trial published as part of the Notable British Trial Series. There are no extant trial transcripts. But there are prosecution depositions lodged at the National Archives, much press reportage, and a number of relevant memoirs, all giving a keen sense of the key issues raised by the trial. The book also focuses on an extraordinary divorce case, that of Christabel Russell, involving cross-dressing, claims of a virgin birth, extreme sexual ignorance, and a particular brand of eccentric modern femininity.

Private life in a public space
Author: Lynne Attwood

An acute housing shortage was one of the defining features of Soviet life. This book explores the housing problem throughout the 70 years of Soviet history, looking at changing political ideology on appropriate forms of housing under socialism, successive government policies on housing and the meaning and experience of ‘home’ for Soviet citizens. The book's main concern is housing as a gendered issue. To this end, it examines the use of housing to alter gender relations, and the ways in which domestic space was differentially experienced by men and women. The book places the research firmly in the context of existing literature. While this includes a number of short works that consider the gendered implications of housing policy in specific periods, the book provides an analysis of housing as a gendered issue throughout Soviet history, comparing and contrasting housing policy and the experience of home life under different leaders. Much of the material comes from Soviet magazines and journals, which enables the book to demonstrate how official ideas on housing and daily life changed during the course of the Soviet era, and were propagandised to the population. Through a series of in-depth interviews, the book also draws on the memories of people with direct experience of Soviet housing and domestic life.

Marriage and patriarchy in Scotland, 1650–1850
Author: Katie Barclay

Through an analysis of the correspondence of over one hundred couples from the Scottish elites across the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, this book explores how ideas around the nature of emotional intimacy, love, and friendship within marriage adapted to a modernising economy and society, in turn shaping how power was negotiated between partners across the period. A feminist methodology is used to highlight how patriarchal values moulded the nature of the marital relationship, affecting how men and women perceived their role within it and how they understood married life. The book argues that patriarchy continued to be the central model for marriage across the period as couples found ways to negotiate its strictures to make it compatible with their personal experiences. As a result, women found spaces to hold power within the family, but could not translate it to power beyond the household. Comparing the Scottish experience to that across Europe and North America, the book shows that over the course of the eighteenth century, far from being a side-note in European history, Scottish ideas about gender and marriage were to become culturally dominant.

Marriage In fifteenth-century Valencia

This book examines labouring-status women in late medieval Valencia as they negotiated the fundamentally defining experience of their lives: marriage. Through the use of notarial records and civil court cases, it argues that the socio-economic and immigrant status of these women greatly enhanced their ability to exercise agency not only in choosing a spouse and gathering dotal assets, but also in controlling this property after they wed. Although the prevailing legal code in Valencia appeared to give wives little authority over these assets, court records demonstrate they were still able to negotiate a measure of control. In these actions, labouring-status wives exercised agency by protecting their marital goods from harm, using legal statutes to their own advantage.

The key factors in this argument are the immigrant and labouring-status background of these women. Many women immigrated to Valencia on their own from smaller towns and villages. In doing so, these women moved outside of their natal families’ sphere of influence, making them less embedded and subject to the authority of their kin relations. Labouring-status women worked themselves, most often as servants, to generate the necessary funds for their dowries. These factors gave wives of this status greater agency than elite women in contracting their marriages, providing dotal assets and challenging their husbands’ authority over this property in dowry restitution cases. Without the influence of their natal families in making marital decisions, these wives were able to act independently in controlling their marital property, negotiating the structures of patriarchy to their advantage.

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Same-sex desire in the British Armed Forces, 1939–45
Author: Emma Vickers

This book takes a contextual, time-specific approach to the study of same-sex desire in the British armed forces. Such an approach is now considered to be de rigueur for the historian of sexuality. The book first examines the medical, legal and cultural understandings of same-sex activity and identity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It then focuses on the life of service personnel; how they lived, loved and survived within the armed forces. Among other themes, the book examines the importance of homosociability and the mechanics of passing. It explores the experiences of personnel during moments when the veil could be lifted, whether on leave, on stage, away from authority, in foreign climes or simply away from the strictures of familial authority. The book further interrogates how men and women deemed to desire members of the same sex were conceptualised and treated by the armed forces. It uses court-martial records, court transcripts, official papers and personal testimony to map out how those caught out by the system were understood and treated. Finally, the book provides a clearer picture of how self-identified queer personnel and those who engaged in homosex experienced the Second World War when on duty, at play and when experiencing the sharp end of military law.