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Irish Women and Political Petitioning, c. 1870-1918

STEWART, CIARA,ELIZABETH (2021) Irish Women and Political Petitioning, c. 1870-1918. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Petitioning was one of the few forms of political agitations available to the
disenfranchised of the nineteenth century. This thesis studies petitioning patterns
in order to re-examine the political experience of Irish women in the period 1870-
1918. It addresses the development of a gendered political culture in Ireland and
how petitioning allowed women to partially break the boundaries of a male
dominated political sphere. Petitioning, alongside other campaign methods,
allowed Irish women to become involved in the Irish public and political sphere,
despite going against traditional gender and social conventions. This approach
allows for an examination of the social and denominational characteristics of
Irish women’s organisations in this period and this thesis will show that those
adopting petitions were run predominantly by middle-class Protestant women.
This thesis draws on examples from a variety of women’s movements, through
case studies of the Irish Ladies’ National Association for the Repeal of the
Contagious Diseases Acts, (LNA), the Dublin Women’s Suffrage Association,
(DWSA), their successor the Irish Women’s Suffrage and Local Government
Association, (IWSLGA), the Dublin Women’s Temperance Association, (DWTA),
the Irish Women’s Franchise League, (IWFL) and the Ulster Women’s Unionist
Council, (UWUC).

This thesis places Irish women within previously Anglo-centric studies of
nineteenth-century suffrage activism by demonstrating the connections that
existed between Irish and British women. This thesis shows that there was often
co-operation between British and Irish women, but there were cases when these
relationships were complicated or fractious. Therefore, each chapter provides a
comparative perspective with British women’s organisations, as it is vital to
acknowledge the ties and differences that existed between Irish and British 2
activists in order to understand how they could be affected by issues such as
Home Rule.

In order to understand the practice of petitioning, this thesis also explores themes
of networking, mobilisation, separate spheres, conflicts of morality and popular
sovereignty. Overall, this thesis aims to examine how Irish women approached
politics in this period through a variety of organisations, each with different
aims, but which still multiplied and deepened the politicisation of Irish women.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"History" "Gender" "Petitioning" "Petitions" "Irish History" "British History" "Politics" "Parliament" "Women's History" "Nineteenth Century" "Long Nineteenth Century" "Twentieth Century" "Temperance" "Unionism" "Nationalism" "Suffrage" "Bodily autonomy" "Feminism" "Separate Spheres" "Mobilization" "Militancy" "Constitutionalism"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Mar 2021 12:48

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