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Title: Playing the man : negotiating manhood and authority in England's civil war armies
Author: Régnier-McKellar, Sara Siona
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2013
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In early modern England, armies and military men were defined in inherently masculine termns. Despite this congruency, little work has been done on how men's involvement in soldiering clarifies conceptualizations of manhood. This thesis proposes to explore this subject, setting it against the tumultuous backdrop of the English civil wars. This period of upheaval provides an ideal context in which to study representations and experiences of manhood. First, it helps highlight attributes of manhood that have yet to be considered fully by historians, for example, courage. Second, the army provides opportunities to explore interactions between men of different age, social status, locality, employment and religion. This diversity provides insight into the way manhood was· used to negotiate relations amongst men. It also helps to restore a degree of agency to men who might have felt disenfranchised and disadvantaged by early modern gender structures, for example, youths, bachelors and younger sons. Indeed, during the wars not only was gender used prescriptively to define the conflict and men's role within it, martial men actively participated in shaping assumptions about manhood by assimilating, manipulating, and using manhood to justify their actions and construct their authority. Military service had the potential to provide all men with manly dividends through access to violence, opportunities to construct independence and by participation in sophisticated politico-religious cultures. This thesis, then, is interested in the transcendent qualities of manhood, those that united men across allegiances and across markers of difference. It self-consciously strives to establish a balance between the vulnerability and potency of manhood and demonstrates the multiplicity of ways manly attributes could be used either to empower or disempower. This study contributes to histories of early modern manhood by exploring the ways that gender was used to create fonnal and infonnal hierarchies amongst men, profoundly shaping contemporaries' lived experiences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available