Families, Relationships and Home Life

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


The two previous chapters concerning women’s contribution to economic and political life have illustrated that middle-class and elite women enjoyed far richer experiences than traditional historical accounts often suggest. Nevertheless, the lives of most women (particularly those of the middle classes) remained structured primarily around domestic concerns. Historians have emphasised the extent to which, by the early Victorian period, such activities had become strongly influenced by the Evangelical project.1 Yet, we must question how far most women would have cast themselves unproblematically in the wholly dependent and subordinate domestic roles exhorted of them in Evangelical discourses of domesticity. Women could attach very diverse meanings to the home and to their role within it.


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  1. 1.
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© Kathryn Gleadle 2001

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