Application of the Poor Law in mid-nineteenth century Glasgow
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This study identifies, and takes issue with, a trend of idealism within traditional Scottish history- This trend causes the explanatory objects of most comments on the Scottish Poor Law to be constructed in terms of the criteria, largely unquestioned, of twentieth century 'Welfare'. By contrast, the explanatory object of this work locates the Scottish Poor Law, as it was amended in 18^5, outwith the terrain of 'Social Welfare' and attempts, instead, to understand the operation of the 'new' Poor Law as both an ideological, and an institutional, dimension of the State's organisation of life and labour in the late nineteenth century. shall argue that much Scottish history is fettered by a consideration of the 'omissions' of the New Scottish Poor Law, and, as a result, fails to consider important aspects of Poor Relief. At an empirical level, I shall suggest, from an analysis of the data from a 'corner' of Scottish Poor Relief, that, in its daily practice, the New Poor Law did engage with at least an important section of the urban proletariat . From this, the emphasis of my study is to examine, firstly, the way in which, in its operation, the Poor Law gained some 'consensus' in the face of the harsh facts of poverty. I shall argue that a crucial element in this was the way in which the practice of Poor Relief 'organised' two powerful images in Victorian Scotland: the 'family' and the 'parish'. Secondly, I shall suggest that in its day-to-day practice, Poor Relief in Victorian Scotland can be understood as a 'discipline' for paupers.