The myth of the Victorian patriarchal family

Gordon, E. and Nair, G. (2002) The myth of the Victorian patriarchal family. History of the Family, 7(1), pp. 125-138. (doi: 10.1016/S1081-602X(01)00100-2)

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Conventionally, the Victorian middle-class family has been regarded as a social and economic unit usually headed by a married man. The woman's role within this unit has been associated with service and dependency. However, a study of a middle-class area of Glasgow based upon the census returns of 1851–1891 suggests that the widely held image of the Victorian middle-class family as headed by a paterfamilias may be misplaced. The high incidence of female-headed households and the range of kin, both male and female, which they contained, indicate the diversity of experience among middle-class women, the degree of their social and residential independence, and, thus, the dangers of viewing women's lives through the filter of Victorian domestic ideology.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Middle-class, Victorian, Family
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gordon, Professor Eleanor
Authors: Gordon, E., and Nair, G.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:History of the Family

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