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Title: Civil society in the stateless capital : charity and authority in Dublin and Edinburgh, c.1815-c.1845
Author: Curran, Joseph Simon
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 5573
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines middle-class social relations in nineteenth-century Dublin and Edinburgh, giving particular attention to how the cities’ inhabitants dealt with sectarian conflicts. These cities occupied an unusual position within the UK as they were both stateless capitals, towns that no longer possessed a national parliament, but still performed many of the administrative functions of a capital city. Being a stateless capital affected Dublin and Edinburgh in contrasting ways and this distinction shaped the wider character of each city and middle-class social relations within them. The thesis adopts philanthropy as a vantage point from which to explore these issues as charitable institutions occupied a unique place in nineteenth-century towns, being a junction between voluntary association and official government activity. Presbyterian Edinburgh and predominately Catholic and Anglican Dublin were both home to vibrant philanthropic associational cultures based on similar middle-class values. Contrary to older analyses, Presbyterianism did not promote a greater interest in participating in voluntary activity any more than Catholicism discouraged it. There were, however, differences between the cities. Edinburgh was a more ostensibly successful city by contemporary middle-class standards. Its organisations helped it to overcome social divisions to a greater extent than their counterparts in Dublin. The contrasting nature of state-charity relations in each city partly explains this difference. Overt central state intervention in Edinburgh’s philanthropic institutions was rare, hence Edinburgh was seen as a society trying to manage its own problems. Dublin by contrast, appeared to be a dependent city as its charities received substantial parliamentary aid. Hence, Edinburgh could present itself as a self-confident capital city whereas Dublin, although a more overt centre of power, sometimes appeared to be simply an intermediary through which London influenced the rest of Ireland. Although both cities were part of the UK mainstream associational culture, charitable activity also emphasised their Irish or Scottish characteristics. These national attributes were not perceived as equally attractive. Philanthropy associated Edinburgh with Enlightenment and education, by contrast it connected Dublin with poverty and dependency.
Supervisor: Delaney, Enda ; Morris, Bob Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Edinburgh ; Dublin ; nineteenth-century ; philanthropy ; sectarian tensions ; national characteristics