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Title: Rethinking the makeshift economy : a case study of three market towns in Dorset in the later decades of the Old Poor Law
Author: Richards, Jacqueline
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2019
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Differing historiographical interpretations, both of the effectiveness of the Old Poor Law and the consistency of practice within regions, were the central, starting points of this thesis. Increasingly, historians have come to think of similarities in practice between countries and areas in terms of overarching 'regimes', one of which is the exclusionist regime. Supporters of this 'exclusionist' welfare regime have increasingly recognised Olwen Hufton's concept of the economy of makeshifts as an essential element in the survival of the poor. However, refinements to this concept and thus the definition of 'makeshifts' have emerged in a more modified English version, neatly described as a 'mixed economy of welfare'. Here, historians blend the more proactive, entrepreneurial efforts of the poor with poor relief and charity, dispensed by overlapping multiple authorities. However, the empirical identification and analysis of how or whether formal poor relief, charity and the economy of makeshifts integrated into a mixed economy of welfare is absent from this historiographical debate. This thesis thus examines the welfare options available to the poor at a micro regional level in three market towns in Dorset: Bridport, Beaminster and Blandford. These towns are representative of local diversity appertaining to Old Poor Law and welfare practice, in what is commonly understood as one of England's poorest counties. This thesis will question the explicit and implicit sense in much of the historiography of welfare that poor people could seamlessly navigate a mixed economy of welfare with relative ease. Charity and poor relief in these market towns could not, seemingly, be mixed. By combining the access criteria of these two strands of welfare, it is clear that some poor people were excluded from any type of formal welfare and were obliged, at various points in time and over the life cycle, to rely on a complex patchwork of shifting. The economy of makeshifts as defined by Hufton offers a more expansive and diversified welfare landscape, in which neither charity nor poor relief dominate the strategies of the poor in 'making do'.
Supervisor: King, Steven Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available