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Title: Reverses of fortune : masculinity and financial failure in the middle classes in England, 1835-1895
Author: Flint, Marian Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 9035
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Historians have generally accepted a model of masculinity wherein financial solvency was a crucial measure of success. This thesis examines and challenges that view, problematising the idea of the man as successful breadwinner being a cornerstone of middle-class masculine identity. It examines neglected aspects of men's lived experience, including indebtedness, bankruptcy and the receipt of charity, and, through this, reveals that the effect of financial failure was more complex and nuanced than usually thought. It also considers how these "failed" men were viewed by their families. It demonstrates that a financial crisis did not have to lead to material ruin and that the emotional and societal consequences could be negotiated by those who were shrewd. Middle-class men who knew how to present themselves within the accepted parameters of their class did not necessarily lose status. Furthermore, through the "patriarchal dividend", they always enjoyed the possibility that their fortunes might improve. Conversely, women's status depended on the lives and social position of others. How a middle-class man understood and thought about his situation was influenced by the prevailing social discourse but personal life choices relating to, for example, profession and marriage, and the need to negotiate emotional survival could override its impact or produce confusing feelings. This thesis shines a light on the men and their families who occupied a liminal position of reduced fortunes and thwarted expectations in the middle classes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available