Community, authority, and parochial realms

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

Community, authority, and parochial realms

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Within their communities, women could act as authoritative public figures in ways that were strikingly at odds with the highly feminized modes of action with which they were associated in the wider ‘public sphere’ of national campaigns. Gender was always central to individual identity and social interaction, yet in these contexts it was a less obvious predictor of public engagement. Studying the multifarious constructions of women's local personas enables us to focus upon the varying salience of gender in the experiences and representations of publicly active women. This chapter explores the various sites of the ‘parochial realm’, a term used to denote situations characterized by daily, local interaction and personal communication. It focuses on three themes in particular: female economic agency, women's cultural activities, and female philanthropy. Finally, it discusses women's economic activities and local profiles, female philanthropy in relation to politics and community, cultural authority and civic identity, and the significance of female householders as political agents.

Keywords: community; public sphere; parochial realm; economic agency; philanthropy; politics; cultural authority; civic identity; cultural activities

Chapter.  15083 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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