'All the common rules of social life' : the reconstruction of social and political identities by the Dorset Gentry, c.1790-c.1834
Flame, Michael John (1997) 'All the common rules of social life' : the reconstruction of social and political identities by the Dorset Gentry, c.1790-c.1834. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
WRAP_THESIS_Flame_1997.pdf - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1354604~S15
This case-history explores the governing purposes of the Dorset gentry from the
early 1790's until the mid 1830's. It is not a conventional political and
administrative history. It seeks rather to reveal the gentry's governing purposes
through the processes and contexts of their construction of social and political
identities. It takes as its starting point the idea of the materiality of language itself
The idea that language does not reflect or refer to a pre-existing anterior reality but
creates meaning by distinguishing explicitly or implicitly what something is from
what it is not. This case-history explores the gentry's construction of the terms of an
overarching discourse I have called the 'common rules of social life'. In particular
the evolving narrative terms of patriarchal oeconomy, political economy and
paternalism. It does so to answer the question: 'By what means and for what
purposes did this form of discourse and its narrative traditions become established
by the gentry to prevail at this time in the past? ' The answers are found in the ways
and the contexts in which the gentry used this discourse.
First, how did the gentry exercise their power so that this discourse might come
into being. Here the structures and institutions of the Commission of the Peace are
significant. In particular the ways in which power was monopolised and used by a
small fraction of active magistrates. This fraction was active in the committees of
the Commission of the Peace and at quarter and petty sessions. Their power came to
be deployed to reform county government and poor relief to impose 'natural' moral
market relations on Dorset society.
Second, how was the discourse and its constituent elements exercised by the gentry
to constitute identities, and how did they determine how people thought and acted?
Here the case-history reveals the gentry's construction of identities for Dorset, the
parish and the poor. In particular the construction of an identity of Dorset as an
arena of natural economic laws and moral endeavour. These identities were taught
to rich and poor alike as part of the gentry's purpose to remoralise Dorset society.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Gentry -- Great Britain -- Dorset -- History -- 18th century, Gentry -- Great Britain -- Dorset -- History -- 19th century, Great Britain -- Social life and customs -- 18th century, Great Britain -- Social life and customs -- 19th century, English language -- Discourse analysis, Local government -- Great Britain -- Dorset -- History -- 18th century, Local government -- Great Britain -- Dorset -- History -- 19th century|
|Official Date:||November 1997|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of History|
|Sponsors:||Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)|
|Extent:||i, 395 p.|
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