Misbehaviour at the Fifteenth-Century University of Oxford

Hannah Skoda (Oxford)
13 March 2014

In this podcast regarding misbehaviour during the fifteenth century at the University of Oxford, Hannah Skoda discusses the two prominent stereotypes regarding these students. Skoda proposes that these were that all students were chaste men of God in ivory towers or that they regularly engaged in senseless violence, and had uncontrolled sexuality. Skoda discusses how these stereotypes – which the students were well aware of – affected their behaviour, citing the correlational effects of criminological labelling theory. In order to investigate this misbehaviour at the University of Oxford, Skoda draws comparison to a Parisian university and uses 4 main areas of student identity – peer groups, ‘towns versus gowns’, gender, and geographical provenance, as particular focus points. Within this framework the podcast is able to explain some of the root factors associated with the most prominent events involving student misbehaviour during this period, including the raping of townswomen, the assaulting of townsmen and the burning down of homes. Skoda acknowledges that a lack of statistics is problematic though states that she is discussing a very loud minority in this talk.

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