Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768dbb666b-tcprc Total loading time: 0.656 Render date: 2023-02-07T09:01:51.324Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

2 - Brokering Fatherhood: Illegitimacy and Paternal Rights and Responsibilities in Early Modern England

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2013

Alexandra Shepard
Affiliation:
University of Glasgow
Steve Hindle
Affiliation:
Foundation Director of Research at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California
Alexandra Shepard
Affiliation:
Reader in History, University of Glasgow
John Walter
Affiliation:
Professor of History, University of Essex
Get access

Summary

The ‘family’ has been consistently central to Keith Wrightson's ongoing interrogation of the interconnectedness of daily life with broader social trends in early modern England. English Society contains one of the most nuanced accounts of the practice of patriarchy in seventeenth-century English households, explaining how the complex bonds of authority, dependence and reciprocity between spouses and between parents and children contributed to the ‘enduring structures’ of the seventeenth century. Wrightson does not portray early modern family life as unchanging, however. While he rejects a unilinear model of change associated with narratives of modernisation, he remains sceptical of arguments that solely stress continuity. He has instead called for historians of early modern England to attend to the socially differentiated experience of familial relations as the material and cultural contexts in which they were conducted shifted to produce a ‘growing diversity of family experience’. This essay responds to that call with reference to a comparatively neglected aspect of early modern family life and male gendered identity: fatherhood. In particular, it probes the links between paternity and the social roles associated with fatherhood to argue that the former did not guarantee the latter, especially in cases of illegitimate birth. This was in part owing to demographic uncertainties but also to the uneven distribution of patriarchal dividends that accompanied the processes of social polarisation through which English society was remade in the early modern period.

Type
Chapter
Information
Remaking English Society
Social Relations and Social Change in Early Modern England
, pp. 41 - 64
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×