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Durham e-Theses
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Parenting the Self: Welfare, Family, and Subjectivity in Nineteenth-Century France.

CUBILLAS GADEA, TOMAS,ALBERTO (2017) Parenting the Self: Welfare, Family, and Subjectivity in Nineteenth-Century France. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis studies the rise of the modern self in France from the aftermath of the French Revolution until the eve of the First Wold War. Building on the work of Michel Foucault, the modern individual is understood as the result of collective practices and beliefs that change across time and space, as well as being inseparable from the problem of governing and shaping the conduct of oneself and others. The focus is placed on how the experience of being a nineteenth-century self was structured, by considering, on the one hand, the explicit discourses and logics that naturalized specific forms of selfhood and made it possible to identify oneself and others as modern subjects and, on the other, the rise of techniques and technologies aimed at producing and reproducing this modern self. These included practices of the self such as moral analysis or self-mastery strategies, as well as the mechanisms for instilling selfhood in others, such as education or domesticity. In particular this thesis considers the mutually-supportive role of the nuclear family at the micro level and social assistance programmes at the macro level. The home and charity office participated in a new form of governing and understanding of authority called guardianship or tutelle. This was a conceptually non-coercive way of moulding those not yet able to govern themselves and others in accordance with freedom, but whose effects extended far beyond the pauper or child. Through mobilizing, sensationalist and threatening images of non-normative subjectivity and family breakdown, social reformers and administrators generated a troubling narrative of both lack and ideal against which poor and rich alike could contrast, measure, and correct the normativity of their own habits and domestic arrangements. This thesis therefore contributes to our understanding of how the modern individual was produced and reproduced as the normative subject of modern collectives.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:France, long nineteenth century, subjectivity, selfhood, governmentality, self-government, childhood, welfare, social assistance, family, domesticity, education, schooling, parenting, guardianship, normality, foundlings, abandoned children, child abandonment, single mothers, nuclear family, vanity, domesticity, Holy Family, Catholic family, authority, paternal authority, gender-neutral parents, morality, self-mastery, military conscription, Victor Cousin, François Guizot, Émile Durkheim, Léon Bourgeois, Jules Payot, Elie Luzac.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Apr 2017 12:22

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