Thursday, May 05, 2005

Lad culture in Tudor and Stuart England

Follow this link to a review of a superb book, Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England by University of Sussex historian Alexandra Shepard. Her thesis is very pertinent to our course. Dr. Sheperd has uncovered laddism as far back as the late 1400s: that is, large numbers of dissaffected young males conducting themselves in ways that drew strong condemnation and forceful suppression from the particular elite in power. The article concludes this way:
... her findings offer an alternative view to the "sex blindness" of the
traditional theory that all men were viewed as intellectually and morally
superior to women, thereby creating a system that benefited all men at the
expense of all women. "We need a multi-relational framework when assessing
gender relations," says Dr Shepard, "it involves a great deal more than the
simple opposition of women and men."


maggie said...

I have read that 20th C. British culture (early and mid- 20th C., at least) was influenced more by Victorian ideas than by earlier ones, such as Tudor/Stuart. Is this correct and if so how does it affect our understanding of lads and chicks?

Dr. S.A. Ogden said...

That is certainly a good question.

The course thesis is that, as regards British masuclinity, a very Victorian idea -- what I call "Stalky-ness" -- was dominant until 1945: at which time, as the course fiction reflects, British culture began a process of disengagement, which continues today.

Now, as to the influence of Tudor, and Stuart, (and Carolignian, etc.) ideas on 20th Century Britain, well, it is merely a truism that influence decreases as the intervening ages increase, so this can't be what your author meant.

Now, the book being reviewed in the post here, and which I have asked our Library to purchase for our Course Reserve, sugests something very interesting: _to wit_, that laddism is a perennial social phenomenon which arises from the displeasure of the powers-that-be toward young unmarried males.

In her conclusion, Dr. Shepard says, to your question, that "chicks and lads" are in much the boat regards the authorities.

As I say, good question!