The Little Republic: Masculinity and Domestic Authority in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Paperback | May 26, 2014

byKaren Harvey

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The Little Republic examines the relationship between masculinity, the household, and domestic patriarchy. How did men engage with domestic life? What did the household mean to men? How could they lay claim to domestic authority? In reconstructing men's own understandings, this volumeforegrounds the concept of the "house" and the associated discourse of "oeconomy": the practice of managing the economic and moral resources of the household for the maintenance of good order. Oeconomy shaped men's engagements with the household adn underpinned the patriarchal authority theyacquired through the mundane material practices of everyday household management. The house also endured as a central component of masculinity, providing the grounding for men's self and public identities. Indeed, the skills and virtues practised by men in their 'little republics' were tiedincreasingly closely to a language of public-spirited political citizenship.The close relationship between men and the domestic in eighteenth-century Britain has been obscured by accounts that chart a decline in domestic patriarchy grounded in political patriarchalism, and the emergence of a new "home" charcterized by a feminized culture of "domesticity". The LittleRepublic shifts the terms of these discussions. The eighteenth-century house was neither private nor feminized. Oeconomy brought together the house and the world - and increasingly so - primarily through men's authoritative engagement with the household.

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The Little Republic examines the relationship between masculinity, the household, and domestic patriarchy. How did men engage with domestic life? What did the household mean to men? How could they lay claim to domestic authority? In reconstructing men's own understandings, this volumeforegrounds the concept of the "house" and the assoc...

Karen Harvey is a cultural historian of Britain in the long eighteenth century. She has published widely on gender, sexuality, and material culture.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pagesPublished:May 26, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199686130

ISBN - 13:9780199686131

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Language of Oeconomy3. Words into Practice4. Keeping House5. Identity and Authority6. Conclusion: Oeconomy and the Reproduction of PatriarchyBibliography