Men in the Family: Constructions and Performance of Masculinity in England, c.1700-1820
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This thesis examines the meanings, constructions, and performances of masculinity in the long eighteenth century, c.1700-1820, within familial relationships. Rather than reading the codes of masculinity out of representational sources, the thesis engages with men's lived experiences as depicted in ego-documents, such as letters, diaries, memoirs and autobiographies, in which contemporaries reflected on and made sense of their actions and behaviours. Thus, the work is in essence – what I coin – a cultural history of lived experiences. Rather than analysing men's activities in the public sphere or taking for granted their patriarchal omnipotence in the house, this thesis puts men back into the fundamental unit of human interpersonal relationships: the family ties, which has received less attention by scholars of men's history. Inspired by R. W. Connell's concept of masculinity, the thesis analyses men's lives through three connected themes: gender hierarchy, practices of gendered roles and obligations, and the impact of these practices on family relationships and individuals' characters and personalities. It explores five key male roles and familial identities: suitor, husband, father, son, and brother. It asks, firstly, how masculinity was fashioned within familial contexts; secondly, what the prevailing concepts of manhood were when men's identities changed according to their different familial stations; thirdly, how men performed their gendered roles to their family members to express, negotiate, and gain social recognition of their gender identities. The thesis argues that the family was a crucial locus in which masculinity was engendered, fashioned and performed. It therefore contributes to men's history in general by demonstrating how family ties could shape and fashion male gendered identities through the practices of family duties. Familial relationships did play vital roles helping men to construct and perform masculinity, no less than in public domains or in the possession of a household.
AuthorsAyudhya, Tul Israngura Na
- Theses