Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Domestic service, theft and infanticide in Greater London, 1837–1901
by Lea, Alicia Marie, M.A., University of Missouri - Kansas City, 2010, 203; 1485357
Abstract (Summary)

This study analyzes cases of theft from employers, acts of infanticide, and concealment of birth committed by Victorian female servants who were tried at London's Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey. The central argument is that domestics exhibited transient agency through these criminal acts, upsetting the household routine and subverting the authority of their employers.

The first chapter lays the context for the thesis through an examination of the historiographies of household service and crime. The second chapter contends that domestics participated in a range of theft practices, necessitating legal action from employers to right the balance of power. The third chapter argues that servants accused of infanticide or concealment had tried to maintain their secrets to safeguard their reputations, jobs, and chances to marry. The final chapter highlights similarities between theft and infanticide cases, including society's consistent scrutiny of servants and domestics' use of deviant methods to experience agency.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Payne, Lynda S.
Commitee:
School: University of Missouri - Kansas City
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: MAI 48/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: European history, Criminology
Keywords: England
Publication Number: 1485357
ISBN: 978-1-124-10715-8
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