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Title: Social networks and urban space: The social organisation of a county town, Leicester c.1550-1640.
Authors: Kawana, Yoh.
Award date: 1996
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: The late Tudor and early Stuart period is widely considered to be a significant period of transition in English urban society. Numerous towns have been studied in the context of the social and economic difficulties they experienced. Historians have also investigated the formal social organisation structuring human relationships in urban centres. Towns have been largely described as either stable or unstable communities. The study of urban social organisation is important for understanding urban consciousness on the basis of townspeople's everyday experiences. Recent local studies generally fail to recognise those significant social relationships which crisscrossed the boundaries of formal and informal institutions, of social and occupational groups and of town and countryside. Analysis of these aspects are particularly important in the context of middle-sized county towns, since recent detailed studies have tended to focus mainly on the largest urban centres, notably London. This thesis attempts to analyse how a heterogeneous population's social relationships were organised in a complex urban community. The first four chapters examine a range of urban experiences in the context of the regional economy, the urban fringe, household society and poverty. Chapters five and six investigate social relationships in formal institutional settings and townspeople's reactions to these institutional structures. The final chapter demonstrates the patterns of everyday interactions in different types of urban space (as defined in the text). Stressing the significance of informal social links in the urban community, the thesis concludes that urban space gave important structure to a range of social networks, shaping and modifying townspeople's urban consciousness. This study not only highlights the limitation of compartmentalised analysis of individual urban institutions and social groups in an urban context, but also suggests new analytical dimensions in assessing the change and continuity of pre-modern towns without alluding to the concept of stability.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: Ph.D.
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Historical Studies
Leicester Theses

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