Gender, sex and social control: East Lothian, 1610-1640
Cornell, Harriet Jane
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Early modern Scotland was a religious society where the doctrine of Calvinism permeated everyday life in the localities through the official regulation of personal behaviour. Recent historical studies have debated the nature and experience of social control in Scotland between 1560 and 1780, including the importance and influence of gender, geographic location and social status. Where such studies have traditionally focussed on kirk session minutes as a lone source, the thesis engages with this debate by employing an ‘all courts’ approach to examine social control, family structures and interpersonal relationships. In doing so, it departs from the binary division of gender and contributes to a wider thematic historiography involving patriarchy, family and household that is present in contemporary English and Continental scholarship. In Scotland, although the period between 1560 and 1640 has received attention from historians, there is no focussed study of these themes for the period between 1610 and 1640. The thesis employs evidence from secular and ecclesiastical court records drawn from ten parishes across East Lothian to analyse the structure of the operational court system in Haddingtonshire and to examine social control and notions of honour and shame. Focus is given to how these two concepts interacted with popular experiences of household life, sexual relationships, violent actions and violent words. Its central argument is that, between 1610 and 1640, there was a localised experience of social control and authority in East Lothian, which was administered through an integrated justice network of civil and ecclesiastical courts that was influenced by gender roles, ideas of patriarchy and the importance of social status.