Crime, Gender, and Social Order in Early Modern England

Synopsis

This is the first extended study of gender and crime in early modern England. It considers the ways in which criminal behaviour and perceptions of criminality were informed by ideas about gender and order, and explores their practical consequences for the men and women who were brought before the criminal courts. Dr Walker's innovative approach demonstrates that, contrary to received opinion, the law was often structured so as to make the treatment of women and men before the courts incommensurable. For the first time, early modern criminality is explored in terms of masculinity as well as femininity. Illuminating the interactions between gender and other categories such as class and civil war have implications not merely for the historiography of crime but for the social history of early modern England as a whole. This study therefore goes beyond conventional studies, and challenges hitherto accepted views of social interaction in the period.

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