Conclusion: Oeconomy and the Reproduction of Patriarchy

Karen Harvey

in The Little Republic

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199533848
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740978 | DOI:

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Social and Cultural History


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This concluding chapter examines the wider implications of oeconomy as a model and practice of domestic patriarchy. It explores middling‐sort men's efforts in ensuring that these practices were transmitted between different generations, arguing that this constituted a form of inheritance that created lineages for the consolidating middling sort. Oeconomical practices were also reproduced between men of different ranks, though in ways that sustained social stratification. Indeed, the chapter considers the emergence of a fraternity of oeconomy: gendered practices bound men together both rhetorically and practically, and the good management of a house was one of the most important instances of this. The chapter ends by exploring the public resonance of the house through a case‐study of political prints from the 1760s. This public material takes us to the heart of the house — the kitchen — and demonstrates that oeconomy now informed critiques of the monarchy and central government.

Keywords: rank; class; middling sort; lineage; politics; government; patriarchy; benevolence; kitchen

Chapter.  9855 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Social and Cultural History

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