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Elite networks of the London Season: perspectives from the New Mobilities literature

WILKINS, KATHRYN,ANN (2010) Elite networks of the London Season: perspectives from the New Mobilities literature. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This research investigates and analyses the London Season in the nineteenth century through an engagement with „New Mobilities‟ literature. By positioning the research within this literature and connected theories surrounding material and performative geographies, the research provides a historical perspective to this emerging area of geographical enquiry. Using a wide variety of sources, the mobility of this societal group is reassessed, highlighting the crucial role movement played in the practices of the Season. The concept of „networks‟ is adopted to enable a detailed analysis of the connections forged during the London Season, revealing the powerful role held by women in the period. This desire to network is understood in detail through an engagement with performance literatures to illustrate the importance of dance to those participating. This detailed engagement with networking practices is continued through a material engagement with the Season; analysing the use of fashion to increase the chances of connection.

The spatial implications of the London Season are addressed through the construction of broad scale analyses using court directories, ball attendance records and rate books. This enabled the popularity of certain spaces to be ascertained, leading to discussions regarding the use of space as a tool by those participating in the Season to attract connections. This active engagement with space moves away from previous interpretations of the period, in which the West End is treated as a banal template. This research also adopts calls from within historical geography (Blunt, 2000a; McDowell, 2004) to utilise biographical material in understanding the past. Individual experiences of the Season are contrasted throughout the thesis, revealing that the period should not be understood as a single, indivisible „Season‟, but instead as many „Seasons‟ overlapping with one another, yet offering different experiences of the same phenomenon.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 Mar 2011 10:39

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