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Title: Power at the power house : agency and authority on the Chatsworth Estate, 1811-1877
Author: Butler, Lauren
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 3598
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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Power is a central concept in the language of country house studies. Commonly referred to as 'power houses', the primary function of properties such as Chatsworth in Derbyshire is understood as the consolidation and reproduction of aristocratic power. In this narrative of upper-class supremacy, the communities that lived on these estates are conceptually divided in binary terms of upstairs and downstairs, master and servant, landlord and tenant, the powerful and the powerless. This thesis problematises the concept of absolute power on the country estate by drawing on the work of sociologists such as Pierre Boudieu and Anthony Giddens, to ask how power might be approached in more nuanced terms. By defining power as an individual's capacity to effect change, in however small a way, it accesses new perspectives and suggests how fresh relevance can be drawn from archival material. This thesis finds that far from being insular and isolated, Chatsworth was a microcosm of English society in which daily interactions played out across a diverse community. It therefore speaks to wider issues of class and gender tensions, and individual agency within institutional structures in nineteenth-century Britain. This thesis understands the symbolic power of the landowning family as part of the sociocultural context, rather than the substance, of social relations on the country estate. It is interested in the experiences of servants, staff and tenants not as facilitators of an upper-class lifestyle, but as individuals with their own social and material aspirations and agency. The chapters examine all areas of the estate, from the village to the household, in order to chart a holistic narrative of this dynamic country house community and its residents during a time of significant local and national change.
Supervisor: Hodson, Jane ; Moses, Julia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available