Disorderly Households? Homemaking and Law-breaking in early modern Scotland
“Homemaking and Law-breaking” is a programme of research that examines the interplay between early modern urban households, the communities they helped form, and the social regulation that their activities helped shape. Focusing on Scottish urban centres between 1540 and 1625 this research has two distinct, yet connected, points of interest. First, starting from the premise that conflict is not always destructive, it examines how inter- and intra-familial disputes, master/servant relations, debt litigation, and household criminal activities tested, strengthened, and occasionally broke, household bonds and how such activities reflect household decision making in regards to advancing collective family goals. Second, it considers the way in which early modern Scots elaborated upon two concepts of order: the highly prescriptive ideal that all should adhere to the strict tenets of the church and the laws of the ‘city,’ maintaining all things ‘godly and honest; and, the pragmatic attempt by neighbours to resolve conflict within the burghs whenever, and however, possible. This programme has already resulted in a number of conference papers and should yield a few articles or book chapters.
Crime and the Courts in early modern Scotland