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Identity, Memory and Popular Politics in Sixteenth-Century Kent

Byrne, Katherine Elizabeth Mary (2018) Identity, Memory and Popular Politics in Sixteenth-Century Kent. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:73246)

Language: English
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This thesis is an investigation of social memory, the landscape, and identity in Tudor Kent, with the aim of obtaining a better understanding of popular politics in early modern England. By the end of Elizabeth's reign, England was in a very different position to the England of Henry VII. In 1603 England was a Protestant nation, the state's reach into the lives of its subjects was further than ever before, and popular rebellion on the scale of 1381 and 1549 had died out. Each of these changes would have had a significant impact on the commonalty. In order to understand the political lives of the common people of England, it is therefore important to explore their experiences. The way people remembered their lives, and the way that these memories were embedded in collective histories and written into the local landscape itself, were vital to the formation of identities, which in turn influenced their political associations and actions. The use of sociological and anthropological theories make it possible to look deeper into the way identity influenced political action, especially in an area where sources are scarce.

This study of Kent, a county with a strong identity and a long history of popular rebellion, examines the overlapping identities available to its sixteenth century inhabitants. It looks at the way in which local layers of identity, based in customs, access to resources, and a relationship with the landscape, combined with external influences such as the Reformation or the Armada to form a variety of identities of different strengths in different contexts. The way in which these identities interacted with each other as well as with the political circumstances is shown to influence collective participation in protest action. Kent's rebellious traditions, with the associated rhetoric and physical spaces, form another layer of identity to be called upon at certain times. The strength of the superordinate and subordinate identities of the Kentish people in such contexts is explored in order to understand the engagement in rebellion, as well as the decline of such engagement in the second half of the sixteenth century. By combining this with the labels applied to the people of Kent in chronicles, plays and other texts, which served to undermine identities such as Invicta, this thesis looks at the political ramifications of identity and memory in Kent.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: Kent, Memory, Identity, Popular Politics, Landscape, Local, National, Reformation, Armada, Rebellion, Plays, Writing, Perambulations, Custumals, Depositions, Cade, Invicta, Commons of Kent
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2019 10:10 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 14:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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