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Medieval Single WomenThe Politics of Social Classification in Late Medieval England$
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Cordelia Beattie

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199283415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283415.001.0001

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Conclusion: Cultural Intersections

Conclusion: Cultural Intersections

Chapter:
(p.144) Conclusion: Cultural Intersections
Source:
Medieval Single Women
Author(s):

Cordelia Beattie (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283415.003.0007

This conclusion reflects on how the power of classification resides as much in language, in dominant cultural ideas that influence and inflect language use, as with individual classifiers. Key factors affecting the cultural construction of categories include dominant religious and legal ideas in particular historical contexts, although the specific intentions of particular texts do affect how categories are deployed. The category ‘single woman’ has been shown to interact with those of ‘maiden’ and ‘widow’, whatever language is used, from the 13th century and into the 17th century. Its analysis pointed out various paths through the labyrinthine world of social classification, illustrating the interconnectedness of medieval culture, the complex relationship between representation and social reality, and the competing and overlapping nature of social categories.

Keywords:   classification, language, cultural ideas, single woman, maiden, widow

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