This is a study of noblewomen in twelfth-century England and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. It draws on a mix of evidence to offer a reconceptualization of women's role in aristocratic society, and in doing so suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high Middle Ages. The book considers a wide range of literary sources—such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records—to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. It asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of these aristocratic women, thereby demonstrating that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.
For much of the twentieth century women police often played a key role in the detection and prevention of child abuse, neglect and the 'policing of families'. This book examines the professional roles, identities, activities and experiences of women police in the United Kingdom. It comments on the gendering of modern surveillance technologies, on the relationship between justice and welfare, and on the changing situation of women in the twentieth century. The book shows that assumptions about class, status, gender and sexuality were both challenged and reinforced by women police. Although institutional structures and hierarchies - including those of gender -shaped the women police officers' professional experiences, the senior officers achieved considerable success in creating their own professional networks. The book examines the status and 'respectability' associated with women's work in the police service, and focuses on personal testimony in order to discuss women's perceptions of themselves. It analyses women's operations within the technologies of physical surveillance, dealing with both uniform beat patrol and undercover observations. The regulation of specific groups was done through policewomen's 'specialist' role: firstly, the policing of family, youth and child welfare; and secondly, the regulation of sexuality in relation to adult women. Given that police duties were shaped by legislative frameworks and by institutional strategies, opportunities to transform daily practice were ultimately limited. Despite positive and approbatory statements from women officers regarding integration, women as a whole were far less likely to be promoted than male colleagues in the 1970s and 1980s.
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
This book studies a distinctive brand of women's rights that emerged out of the Victorian Secularist movement, and looks at the lives and work of a number of female activists, whose renunciation of religion shaped their struggle for emancipation. Anti-religious or secular ideas were fundamental to the development of feminist thought, but have, until now, been almost entirely passed over in the historiography of the Victorian and Edwardian women's movement. In uncovering an important tradition of freethinking feminism, the book reveals an ongoing radical and free love current connecting Owenite feminism with the more ‘respectable’ post-1850 women's movement and the ‘New Women’ of the early twentieth century.
This book explores the legal actions of women living in three English towns – Nottingham, Chester and Winchester – during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. For the first time, it brings together women’s involvement in a wide range of litigation, including pleas of debt and trespass, as well as the actions for which they were punished under local policing and regulations. The book details the multiple reasons that women engaged with the law in their local communities, all arising from their interpersonal relationships and everyday work and trade. Through the examination of thousands of original court cases, it reveals the identities of hundreds of ordinary urban women and the wide range of legal actions that they participated in. This wide-ranging, comparative study examines the differing ways that women’s legal status was defined in multiple towns, and according to different situations and pleas. It pays close attention to the experiences of married women and the complex and malleable nature of coverture, which did not always make them completely invisible. The book offers new perspectives on women’s legal position and engagement with the law, their work and commercial roles, the gendering of violence and honour, and the practical implications of coverture and marital status, highlighting the importance of examining the legal roles and experiences of individual women. Its basis in the records of medieval town courts also offers a valuable insight into the workings of these courts and the lives and identities of those that used them.
This book explores for the first time women’s leading roles in animal protection
in nineteenth-century Britain. Victorian women founded pioneering bodies such as
the Battersea Dogs’ Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the
first anti-vivisection society. They intervened directly to stop abuses,
promoted animal welfare, and schooled the young in humane values via the Band of
Mercy movement. They also published literature that, through strongly argued
polemic or through imaginative storytelling, notably in Anna Sewell’s Black
Beauty, showed man’s unjustifiable cruelty to animals. In all these enterprises,
they encountered opponents who sought to discredit and thwart their efforts by
invoking age-old notions of female ‘sentimentality’ or ‘hysteria’, which
supposedly needed to be checked by ‘masculine’ pragmatism, rationality and
broadmindedness, especially where men’s field sports were concerned. To counter
any public perception of extremism, conservative bodies such as the Royal
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for long excluded women from
executive roles, despite their crucial importance as donors and grassroots
activists. However, women’s growing opportunities for public work in
philanthropic projects and the development of militant feminism, running in
parallel with campaigns for the vote, gave them greater boldness in expressing
their distinctive view of animal–human relations, in defiance of patriarchy. In
analysing all these historic factors, the book unites feminist perspectives,
especially constructions of gender, with the fast-developing field of
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.
This book provides the first group portrait of the late Victorian and Edwardian
feminists and socialists who campaigned against the moral conservatism of
Victorian Scotland. They include Bella and Charles Bream Pearce, prominent
Glasgow socialists and disciples of an American-based mystic who taught that
religion needed to be ‘re-sexed’; Jane Hume Clapperton, a feminist freethinker
with advanced views on birth control and women’s right to sexual pleasure; and
Patrick Geddes, founder of an avant-garde Edinburgh subculture and co-author of
an influential scientific book on sex. The consideration of their lives and work
undertaken here forces a reappraisal of our understanding of sexual
progressivism in Britain in a number of important ways. It affirms that a
precondition of ‘speaking out’ about sex was the rejection of orthodox
Christianity, with alternative forms of belief providing spaces in which a new
morality could be fashioned. It disrupts the long-standing perception of the fin
de siècle as an era of generational challenge, highlighting the importance of
considering older radicalisms, such as freethought. Finally, it emphasises the
regulatory role played by socialist and feminist organisations, reluctant to
reinscribe past associations between political radicalism and immorality. This
meant that despite their reforming zeal, Scotland’s sexual progressives often
adhered to respectable norms, deferring their reimagined intimate relationships
to an idealised future.
This book draws on original research into women’s workplace protest to deliver a new account of working-class women’s political identity and participation in post-war England. In doing so, the book contributes a fresh understanding of the relationship between feminism, workplace activism and trade unionism during the years 1968–85. The study covers a period that has been identified with the ‘zenith’ of trade union militancy. The women’s liberation movement (WLM) also emerged in this period, which produced a shift in public debates about gender roles and relations in the home and the workplace. Industrial disputes involving working-class women have been commonly understood as evidence of women’s growing participation in the labour movement, and as evidence of the influence of second-wave feminism on working-class women’s political consciousness. However, the voices and experiences of female workers who engaged in workplace protest remain largely unexplored. The book addresses this space through detailed analysis of four industrial disputes that were instigated by working-class women. It shows that labour force participation was often experienced or viewed as a claim to political citizenship in late modern England. A combination of oral history and written sources is used to illuminate how everyday experiences of gender and class antagonism shaped working-class women’s political identity and participation.
Women Art Workers constitutes the first comprehensive history of the network of women who worked at the heart of the English Arts and Crafts movement from the 1870s to the 1930s. Challenging the long-standing assumption that the Arts and Crafts simply revolved around celebrated male designers like William Morris, this book instead offers a new social and cultural account of the movement, which simultaneously reveals the breadth of the imprint of women art workers upon the making of modern society. Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women – working in fields such as woodwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, and metalwork – navigated new authoritative roles as ‘art workers’ by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures so often considered in isolation: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial, and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, and a wide range of unstudied advertisements, letters, manuals, photographs, and calling cards, Women Art Workers elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles: guild halls, exhibitions, homes, studios, workshops, and the cityscape. Shattering the traditional periodisation of the movement as ‘Victorian’, this research reveals that the early twentieth century was a critical juncture at which women art workers became ever more confident in promoting their own vision of the Arts and Crafts. Shaped by their precarious gendered positions, they opened up the movement to a wider range of social backgrounds and interests, and redirected the movement’s radical potential into contemporary women-centred causes.