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Nine Centuries of ManManhood and Masculinity in Scottish History$
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Lynn Abrams and Elizabeth L. Ewan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474403894

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474403894.001.0001

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A ‘Polite and Commercial People’? Masculinity and Economic Violence in Scotland, 1700–60

A ‘Polite and Commercial People’? Masculinity and Economic Violence in Scotland, 1700–60

(p.203) 10 A ‘Polite and Commercial People’? Masculinity and Economic Violence in Scotland, 1700–60
Nine Centuries of Man

Tawny Paul

Edinburgh University Press

Classical economic theory suggests that commerce played a central role in the growth of politeness and the decline of violence. This chapter complicates commerce’s role in the civilising process by exploring economic violence in eighteenth century Scotland. Economic violence is defined as constituting a range of physical and non-physical violent acts carried out against persons and property, and economic actions interpreted as forms of violence. Drawing examples from legal records and the debtors’ prison, it considers the intersections between masculinity, economy and interpersonal violence, structured particularly around notions of honour. It argues that violence played a functional role within eighteenth-century Scottish commerce, where it supported claims to masculine gender identity. Violence was not only the property of the crowd, used to defend customary rights, but was deployed by a range of different men, including the commercial middling sorts.

Keywords:   violence, politeness, civilising process, commerce, honour, middling sorts, masculinity, Scotland

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