Heather's Reviews > Common Bodies: Women, Touch and Power in Seventeenth-Century England

Common Bodies by Laura Gowing
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May 17, 12

I own a copy

This is a great social history of women in 17th century England. The author writes in a way where it is fairly easy to understand the conclusions she has arrived at. It is a decently quick read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The main focus of Laura Gowing's book is how power relationships between working women, and sometimes men, worked. The author uses these relationships to explain the various meanings of touch, the touch of other women and men. She also uses these relationships to explain how patriarchal structures were enforced on women, and surprisingly enough, policed by fellow women. This is a great book because it discusses a topic not many people know and understand. The author's research is mainly court documents, which can be a good and bad thing because there was only a certain segment of society that was able to go to court and bring lawsuit. Gowing usese these court documents expertly and weaves them into the book. It's a great and intriguing read from beginning to end. I highly recommend it!
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