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Title: Gender and social visibility, landholding and authority in southern England during the central Middle Ages
Author: Weikert, Katherine
Awarding Body: University of Winchester
Current Institution: University of Winchester
Date of Award: 2013
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This research focuses on social and gender visibility in the landholding and domestic spaces of southern England in the central middle ages (ca 900-ca 1200) in order to examine the constructions of prestige and authority in the period. This research contains three main areas of work incorporated into the greater whole. The first section examines gender and gifts in Anglo-Saxon wills. This corpus of documents allows for the viewing of familial and social structures as well as larger inheritance patterns and schemes, permitting a historical approach to social relations in the period and a deconstruction of previous gendered assumptions. Following the chapter on Anglo-Saxon wills is a larger section discussing the spatial analysis of archaeological sites from ca 900 through to ca 1200, moving the research from the objects and relationships seen in the wills to the physical locations of these objects and these relationships, broadly placing the population of the wills within the spaces they inhabited. These chapters provide an in-depth reinterpretation and sequencing at Faccombe Netherton followed by an examination of other domestic sites from England and Normandy, utilizing access analysis to discern the social flexibility and rigidities of the spaces. The objects seen in the wills and the spaces seen in the narrative texts are, within this chapter, a part of the physical and material past. The final section in the thesis moves from the representations of objects in wills and the physical use of space in archaeological sources to examine how gender and space are signified in narrative sources from the late Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman period, particularly considering the manner in which space and gender were perceived and represented to an Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman audience. In this, the objects seen in the wills as well as the spaces seen in the archaeological sources are queried in the narrative sources. Following all of this, conclusions are drawn from the larger body of research, including directions for future study. This research ultimately suggests that whilst there may have been gendered roles to play for the social elite in this period, the position of the elite was a construct of their own elite status, not a construct of the gender of the person holding this authority.
Supervisor: Roffey, Simon ; Lavelle, Ryan ; Yorke, Barbara Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available