The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

A useful savagery: The invention of violence in nineteenth-century England

Wood, J. Carter (2004). A useful savagery: The invention of violence in nineteenth-century England. Journal of Victorian Culture, 9(1) pp. 22–42.

Full text available as:
[img]
Preview
PDF (Not Set) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (2844Kb)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://doi.org/10.3366/jvc.2004.9.1.22
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

‘A Useful Savagery: The Invention of Violence in Nineteenth-Century England’ considers a particular configuration of attitudes toward violence that emerged in the early decades of the nineteenth century. As part of a longer-term process of emerging ‘sensibilities,’ violence was, seemingly paradoxically, ‘invented’ as a social issue while concurrently relocated in the ‘civilised’ imagination as an anti-social feature mainly of ‘savage’ working-class life. The dominant way this discourse evolved was through the creation of a narrative that defined ‘civilisation’ in opposition to the presumed ‘savagery’ of the working classes. Although the refined classes were often distanced from the physical experience of violence, concern with violence and brutality became significant parts of social commentary aimed at a middle-class readership. While stridently redefining themselves in opposition to ‘brutality,’ one of the purposes of this literature was to create a new middle class and justify the expansion of state power. By the closing decades of the nineteenth century, as the working classes adopted tenets of Victorian respectability, a proliferating number of social and psychological ‘others’ were identified against which ‘civilised’ thought could define itself.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1355-5502
Keywords: violence; media; working-class; middle-class; culture;
Academic Unit/Department: Arts > History
Arts
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
Item ID: 17442
Depositing User: John Wood
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2009 13:07
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2016 07:29
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/17442
Share this page:

Altmetrics

Scopus Citations

► Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk