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The Writing of Urban Histories in Eighteenth-Century England$
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Rosemary Sweet

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206699

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206699.001.0001

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Urban Identity and Provinciality

Urban Identity and Provinciality

(p.236) 6 Urban Identity and Provinciality
The Writing of Urban Histories in Eighteenth-Century England

Rosemary Sweet

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the issues of civic identity, urban consciousness, and urban culture. It demonstrates how customs, rituals, traditions, and combinations of local circumstances and historical precedents generated a sense of urban identity which could find expression in urban histories in many towns. Urban histories were based upon the conception of the town as a unitary body and the assumption that there was a kind of civic ideal with which all the inhabitants could identify and a common culture to which they belonged. This chapter also suggests that in urban histories, there is strong proof of a provincial urban identity which could co-exist with an increasing sense of national identity and the development of a middle-class consciousness.

Keywords:   civic identity, urban consciousness, urban culture, customs, traditions, urban histories, urban identity

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