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Borderline CitizensWomen, Gender and Political Culture in Britain, 1815-1867$
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Kathryn Gleadle

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264492

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264492.001.0001

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Borderline citizens: women and the political process

Borderline citizens: women and the political process

(p.24) (p.25) 1 Borderline citizens: women and the political process
Borderline Citizens

Kathryn Gleadle

British Academy

This chapter considers how, as ratepayers, householders, electors, parliamentary constituents, petitioners, welfare providers, and policy experts, women in Britain were commonly treated as political subjects. Women were ‘borderline citizens’ whose status hovered permanently in the interstices of the political nation: their involvement could be evoked and sanctioned as quickly as it could be dismissed and undermined. This chapter focuses on the structural qualities of the political process and the ways in which they variously facilitated or limited female participation. It was in the parish that women enjoyed the most expansive opportunities, yet parochial authority was increasingly eroded in this period thanks to reforms such as the Poor Law Amendment Act and the Municipal Corporations Act. This chapter also discusses the involvement of women in parliamentary elections, local elections, and petitioning.

Keywords:   Britain, elections, petitioning, policy experts, borderline citizens, parish, Poor Law Amendment Act, Municipal Corporations Act, political process

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