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Title: The experience and construction of the vagabond in England, 1650-1750
Author: Hitchcock, David J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 6207
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis studies the social experience and cultural construction of vagrancy between 1650 and 1750 in England. It interrogates popular and elite literature, the records of criminal justice, parochial accounts, correspondence, and the printed word to tell a story about how attitudes towards vagrancy were constructed, reinforced, or problematised, and how the historical experiences of the mobile poor were affected by these attitudes. It argues that popular attitudes towards vagrancy were more nuanced and ambiguous than previously supposed, and that rogues, anti-heroes, and biography were tightly linked to key changes in literature in the later seventeenth century, such as the emergence of the novel. It recovers fragments of vagrant lives, and echoes of their voices, from the records of local justice, and disagrees with the current consensus that vagrants were clearly separable from other poor migrants in contemporary accounts. It charts the rise of ‘political economy’ and the urge to quantify vagrancy, and to transform vagrants into a productive national resource. Finally, this thesis argues that the social experience and cultural construction of the vagabond cannot, and must not, be separated in any historical account of vagrancy. Stereotypes of the vagabond are too powerful to thus ignore.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain ; HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare