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Poverty and the Poor Law in Ireland 1850-1914$
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Virginia Crossman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781846319419

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846319419.001.0001

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Single Mothers and Prostitutes

Single Mothers and Prostitutes

Chapter:
(p.168) 6 Single Mothers and Prostitutes
Source:
Poverty and the Poor Law in Ireland 1850-1914
Author(s):

Virginia Crossman

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846319419.003.0007

During the second half of the nineteenth century poor law guardians and officials increasingly found themselves catering for people whose conduct or lifestyle had excluded them from respectable society. This chapter examines the way in which unmarried mothers and prostitutes utilised the poor law system, analyses changes in their numbers, perception and treatment, and assesses the impact of fears of vice and contagion. Procedures for the management of immoral women were subject to significant local / regional variations with different poor law unions adopting different approaches. These variations, it is argued, have much to tell us about responses to poverty and distress, and about attitudes to gender and sexuality within Irish society.

Keywords:   society, women, vice, contagion, unmarried mother, prostitute, gender, sexuality

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