Inferior Politics: Social Problems and Social Policies in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Hardcover | November 1, 2009

byJoanna Innes

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Inferior Politics explores how social policy was created in Britain in a period when central government was not active in making it. Parliament proved capable of generating national legislation nonetheless-and provided a forum for debate even when it was impossible to mobilise consensus behindany particular plan. In this setting, there was a lively, and surprisingly inclusive, 'politics' of social policy-making, in which 'inferior' officers of government (what we might call 'local authorities') figured prominently. The book explores institutional structures which shaped these debates and their outcomes, and supplies several case studies of policy-making: one focussing on some of the less well-known activities of William Wilberforce, as he attempted to promote a national 'reformation of manners'; othersfeaturing such apparently marginal figures as imprisoned debtors and a lowly (and bigoted) London constable. A central chapter explores the history of social and economic empirical enquiry from the invention of 'political arithmetic' in the later seventeenth century through to the first census of1801, detailing similar interaction between government and private enthusiasts. Drawing together three decades of the author's work, including two new essays, Inferior Politics demonstrates how Joanna Innes has significantly revised and extended our understanding of the ways and means of British domestic government, in an era marked by institutional continuity but continuingand vigorously debated social challenges.

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Inferior Politics explores how social policy was created in Britain in a period when central government was not active in making it. Parliament proved capable of generating national legislation nonetheless-and provided a forum for debate even when it was impossible to mobilise consensus behindany particular plan. In this setting, there...

Joanna Innes was born in London in 1954 and educated in England and the United States. She studied history at Cambridge, and has been a fellow and tutor at Somerville College Oxford since 1982. She was for ten years, 1990-2000, co-editor of the journal Past and Present. She has contributed to the revitalisation of eighteenth-century B...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:300 pagesPublished:November 1, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198201524

ISBN - 13:9780198201526

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: StructuresParliament and the Shaping of Eighteenth-Century English Social PolicyThe Domestic Face of the Military-Fiscal State: State and Society in Eighteenth-Century BritainThe Local Acts of a National Parliament: Parliament's Role in Sanctioning Local Action in Eighteenth-Century BritainPart II: Empirical EnquiryPower and Happiness: Empirical Social Enquiry from Political Arithmetic to Moral StatisticsPart III: Case StudiesPolitics and Morals: the Reformation of Manners Movement in Later Eighteenth-Century EnglandThe King's Bench Prison in the Later Eighteenth Century: Law, Authority and Order in a London Debtors' PrisonThe Protestant Carpenter: William Payne of Bell Yard (c. 1718-1782). The Life and Times of a London Informing Constable