Female Lives, Moral States
Women, Religion and Public Life in Britain
Using the "exemplary lives" of Elizabeth Fry, Josephine Butler and Florence Nightingale, together with detailed case studies of prison reform, the professionalization of nursing, the religious sisterhood movement, and campaigns against the double standard of sexual morality, the author demonstrates and analyzes the interweaving of religious, political and medical discourses in the construction of new female social roles. These studies of women during the industrialization and urbanization of Britain show both the importance and complexity of religion in personal and organizational life. The book argues that the 19th century drew new distinctions between public and private spheres for women and men, and that a study of female "lineages" of social action, involving a close reading of contemporary texts, suggests radically different definitions of "public" and "civil" society from those formulated in the writings of Jurgen Habermas. This work illustrates the essential connections between urban religion, philanthropy and feminism in the evolution of the concept of citizenship.
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"[Anne Summers] brings the methods of a social historian to a subject with which many cultural historians are engaged. Jane Rendall Anne Summers is an original, interesting and scholarly historian.... no other book has the same scope as this collection. Janet Howarth"