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The rural warCaptain Swing and the politics of protest$
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Carl J. Griffin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086267

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086267.001.0001

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The politics of the parish

The politics of the parish

(p.168) (p.169) 6 The politics of the parish
The rural war

Carl J. Griffin

Manchester University Press

This chapter describes how the ‘politics’ of work and welfare were manifest in Swing. It considers the politics of the regulating of work in relation to the use of machinery, the provision of work, the condition of ‘worklessness’ and the ways in which parochial make-work schemes were subject to attack during Swing. Work was always political because it mediated the relationship between labourers, farmers and the vestry. The chapter also analyses the political critiques of welfare provision issued by Swing activists. It considers the attitudes of labourers towards farmers and other members of the rural community, before looking at the ways in which Swing protested at claimants' treatments at the hands of poor law officials. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the vestry as an arena of conflict and a space of oppression.

Keywords:   work politics, Swing, worklessness, parochial make-work, vestry

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