Space Invaders: Official and patriarchal authority in England, 1660-1750
03 Nov 2017, 17:15 to 03 Nov 2017, 19:15
IHR Pollard Seminar Room, N301, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Jonah Miller , King's College London
People who held office in early modern England (almost always men) were allowed by law to break and enter into other people’s homes. As they forced their way in, these officers drew on a type of masculine authority associated with the power of the state, which had an ambiguous relationship with the power of husbands and fathers. Some historians see interventions by law or government in domestic life as counter-patriarchal violations of the Englishman’s castle. Others see the two types of authority as analogous; united in their effort to govern households as a basic unit of the social order. This paper draws out these tensions by looking at the practice of official entry in a period many historians see as crucial to the development of the state as a larger and more distinct presence in society. In the process, it suggests new ways of thinking about different kinds of male authority in early modern England.
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