The taming of highland masculinity: inter-personal violence and shifting codes of manhood c.1760-1840

Abrams, L. (2013) The taming of highland masculinity: inter-personal violence and shifting codes of manhood c.1760-1840. Scottish Historical Review, 92(1), pp. 100-122. (doi:10.3366/shr.2013.0139)

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Inter-personal violence between men has often been accepted as a ubiquitous feature of male relationships in the past, and the contexts in which that violence was perpetrated is seen to reveal something about the mentalities and social roles of men in past societies. This article considers the social practices of masculinity and the acting out of codes of manhood in the context of Highland Scotland in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries – a period of significant economic and social change. Based primarily on the scrutiny of legal records relating to cases of violent assault involving men of the middling and lower classes from across the Highland counties, this article suggests that the everyday practice of Highland manhood was subject to taming, as the expressions of manhood appropriate for a society at war were gradually rejected as inappropriate for a society of commerce and civility. While customary forms of violence in pursuit of the restitution of honour continued to have some legitimacy until the early nineteenth century, especially in the rural Highlands, in Inverness a new model of disciplined masculinity was applied to male behaviour, offering a glimpse at new sensibilities around inter-personal violence that were to enter Highland society more generally in the following decades.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Abrams, Professor Lynn
Authors: Abrams, L.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Scottish Historical Review
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISSN (Online):1750-0222
Published Online:01 April 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Edinburgh University Press
First Published:First published in Scottish Historical Review 92(1)100-122
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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