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Title: The political culture of the smaller Georgian town : Bedford c.1700-1750
Author: Mitchell, Daniel
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis seeks to contribute to the critical debate on the evolution of Georgian political culture. It is a central contention of political historians that, in the early eighteenth century. a dynamic political culture was achievable in large towns. Through a detailed study of a small town, Bedford, and the creation of a typology identifying a group of similar towns dubbed Bedford-like Boroughs, this thesis argues that political vitality and engagement reached further down the urban hierarchy than has previously been suggested. The independent expression of political will in such environments is not seen as working through patterns of political agency associated with the creation of a public sphere but through the dynamic interdependence of traditional socio-political layers and structures of the urban community. The crucial pivot in such a political culture was the corporation which, despite pressures of limited finances and the face-to-face political culture characteristic of small town environments, was an effective administrative body and an institutional counterweight to outside forces, such as the financial power and political ambition of local landowners. Political culture is studied from a wide urban perspective, not a narrowly partisan one. In order to understand urban politics one must picture it growing out of all the diverse elements which created and defined the town community, from its demography and physical presence, through its sense of community, economic function, institutional structure and political activity to its regional roles and position in the urban hierarchy. Further, it is argued that the social and political resonance of the period 's urbanisation, and particularly the infrastructural changes to the urban network, has been underappreciated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available