Women, the public sphere, and collective identities

Kathryn Gleadle

in Borderline Citizens

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264492
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734274 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Women, the public sphere, and collective identities

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Despite his acknowledgement of women's contribution to constituency and electoral politics, James Vernon has suggested that by the 1830s women were marginalized from the public sphere and participated as observers rather than as agents in their own right. This chapter examines features of female citizenship through a different lens by focusing on their experience of the public sphere. It considers the public sphere of pressure-group campaigns, parliamentary elections, constituency celebrations, and royal visits. It argues that the gendered patterns of public conduct which typified gatherings of this nature had a significant impact upon women's experiences of politics and their own attitudes towards female citizenship. It also discusses ultra-Protestantism and two contrasting case studies, both drawn from the networks of liberal nonconformity: Lydia Becker and Priscilla McLaren.

Keywords: Lydia Becker; Priscilla McLaren; women; nonconformity; public sphere; James Vernon; politics; female citizenship; royal visits

Chapter.  13233 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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