Women and Urban Life in Eighteenth-Century England: 'On the Town'

1st Edition

Rosemary Sweet, Penelope Lane

Published October 28, 2003
Reference - 232 Pages
ISBN 9780754607304 - CAT# Y232324


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Despite the considerable volume of research into various aspects of the social and economic, cultural and political history of eighteenth-century British towns, remarkably little has focused upon, or even reflected upon the distinctive experience of women in the urban context. Much of what research there is has explored the experience of laboring or impoverished women, or women of the social elite; by contrast, the essays in this collection take up the study of the participation of middling women in urban life. This volume brings into sharper focus the relationship between changes consequent upon urban development and shifts in the pattern of gender relations in the 18th century. The contributors address such themes as the extent to which to what extent urban change accelerated a redefinition of gender relations; the connections between urban growth, changing definitions of citizenship, and the emergence of the male gendered political subject; the role of women in a literate, consumer and industrializing society; the place of women's networks in the economic, political and social life of the town and the distinctive role played by women in areas such as philanthropy and business; and how the development of urban society in turn inflected contemporary conceputalizations of gender.

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