When negotiation fails: the abuses of patriarchy

Katie Barclay

in Love, Intimacy and Power

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084904
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702598 | DOI:
When negotiation fails: the abuses of patriarchy

Show Summary Details


This chapter explores the meaning, acceptability and purpose of marital violence in Scottish elite households from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, using their correspondence and supplemented with evidence from cruelty cases conducted at the Commissary Court in Edinburgh between 1714 and 1830. Marital violence happens within a context of love, intimacy, duty and obligation. It was a device within the patriarchal marriage to ensure that husbandly authority was not undermined and that duty, necessary to the good order of society, was fulfilled. Yet, how marital violence was understood within Scottish society was not unchanging over time, adapting to meet the needs of an increasingly commercial, individualised society. At the same time, marital violence was always expected to be limited, and constrained to extreme circumstances. What those circumstances were, however, was not particularly clear, opening the use of violence up to debate and question. Similarly, violence itself was used within negotiations when other forms of negotiation failed, implicating itself in the continuance of patriarchal power.

Keywords: individualised society; Scottish elite; Court in Edinburgh; abuses of patriarchy; negotiation

Chapter.  9115 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.