Fear, Hatred and the Hidden Injuries of Class in Early Modern England. - Journal of Social History

Fear, Hatred and the Hidden Injuries of Class in Early Modern England.

By Journal of Social History

  • Release Date - Published: 2006-03-22
  • Book Genre: History
  • Author: Journal of Social History
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Fear, Hatred and the Hidden Injuries of Class in Early Modern England. Journal of Social History read online review & book description:

I Historical assessments of social relations in early modern England have often extrapolated from expressions of plebeian contempt for their rulers. The Wapping mariner who "'cared not a fart for the king" and Joan Hoby of Colnbrook (Buckinghamshire) who "did not care a pin nor a fart for my Lord's Grace of Canterbury [i.e., Archbishop Laud] ... and ... did hope that she should live to see him hanged" both suggest that the labouring people of early modern England frequently rejected the passive deference expected of them by their rulers. (1) Social historians often balance such exclamations against evidence of popular deference, thereby concluding that early modern society sat uneasily between a status-based 'society of orders' and a modern class society. (2) But what are historians of social relations to make of such outbursts? Do they represent the main, or even the only, plebeian reaction to authority? (3) Should historians be forced into a choice: deference or defiance? Or should we analyse these two extremes in relationship to one another, studying the friction between deference and defiance? (4) This paper will make a case for the latter approach. In particular, it will develop Keith Snell's insight that "Deferential attitudes become a manner, one side of an habitual double-faced outlook, a form of self-presentation. They were buttoned in as a necessity for survival." (5)

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