Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

History

First Advisor

Howsam, L.

Keywords

History, Modern.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Emotional culture is the study of behavioral standards and feelings through time. Historians usually explain emotions as either socially constructed or essentially innate. The theory of social construction suggests that emotions are constructed behaviours for people within a particular society. In comparison, essentialism conceives them as biologically fixed. An analysis of Eliza Linton's autobiography, which she wrote in 1885, showed her ambivalence between her acceptance of cultural gender-specific norms and her own perception of her masculine behaviour. She resolved her conflict by adopting a literary male persona in her autobiography. Beatrice Webb's extensive diary, written during the same period, indicated a similar ambivalence. Webb described her dilemma as a controversy between her rational and her emotional self. Her resolution was within her adopted religious practice. The conclusion is that each woman's particular masculine/feminine contradiction was played out in unique performances, which involved a mediation between self and the society. Thus, even though Linton and Webb acclaimed the constructed gender-distinct emotions in Victorian England, their actions also gave voice to the psyche as the visceral negotiator between public requirements and private wishes. In the future, this intertwining of the social construction and essentialist theories is recommended for understanding the under-researched emotional culture of the past.Dept. of History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1997 .P48. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 37-01, page: 0099. Adviser: L. Howsan. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1997.

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