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Friendship, kinship and belonging in the letters of urban paupers 1800-1840

Freundschaft, Verwandtschaft und Zugehörigkeit in den Briefen städtischer Armer 1800-1940
[journal article]

King, Steven

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Abstract 'This article is driven by an attempt to understand how early nineteenth century urban paupers thought about, experienced and described their belonging to their host parishes and what, if anything, made their experiences different from rural counterparts. It uses pauper narratives - letters written by, for or about paupers - to systematically consider these questions. While such narratives pose problems of orthography, truthfulness and representativeness, the article argues that these potential issues can be overplayed. Using these narratives, the article suggests that urban and rural paupers shared a common language and sentiment of belonging to their parishes of legal settlement. However, the article moves on to suggest that urban paupers also showed distinctive rhetorical strategies and experiential trajectories, talking systematically about the depth of their belonging to a host community, about the occasional fragility of that belonging and about being linked into strong neighbourhood, friendship and kinship networks.' (author's abstract)|
Keywords elderly; rural population; illness; everyday life; historical analysis; poverty; urban population; letter; family; Great Britain; social relations; kinship; friendship; large city; comparison; neighborhood; network; reality; nineteenth century; twentieth century; narration
Classification Social History, Historical Social Research
Method empirical; qualitative empirical; historical
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 249-277
Journal Historical Social Research, 33 (2008) 3
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works