Politics, Community and Protest

Part of the Social History in Perspective book series (SHP)


The involvement of middle-class and elite women in politics and community affairs is one of the newest areas of historiographical inquiry. Until recently, treatments of these topics tended to focus almost exclusively upon women’s philanthropic contributions to the community. This activity was seen to reflect women’s preoccupation with religion and their internalisation of ideologies concerning their supposedly caring, benevolent natures. Such work was simultaneously interpreted as a ‘safety-valve’: a means by which elite women, frustrated by the circumscribed nature of their lives, might find fulfilment beyond the domestic hearth.


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© Kathryn Gleadle 2001

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