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Title: Social control in a sixteenth-century burgh : A study of the burgh court book of Selkirk, 1503-1545
Author: Symms, P. S. M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3494 6361
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1986
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Using the detailed evidence of the burgh court records of Selkirk for the period 1503 to 1545, supported by comparative material from the records of other burghs, this study examines the nature and function of social control in an urban community. The burgh court is described through its functions as the chief formal mechanism of social control, and in the case of Selkirk, the organ of burgh government. The operation of the court is examined under a number of headings which reflect those areas of urban life which were of the greatest concern to community and individuals alike. Many of these concerns are revealed to be about the economic affairs of the burgh, and about the perceived need for economic and social stability and continuity. The protection of stability and continuity is a recuring theme throughout the study, in which the burgh court may be seen to be exercising formal and intentional social control. A parallel theme is provided by the evidence for a well developed and effective system of informal social control, based on the existence of a sense of consensus or public opinion. It is argued that this public opinion provided a framework within which the formal mechanisms of social control were able to function, and from this it is concluded that successful control was dependent on consent. The study ends with an explanation of the special role of the burgh court in bringing together the formal and informal aspects of social control through its function as public forum, sounding board, and mirror of the community's shared system of values and beliefs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Urban community control