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An intellectual history of British social policyIdealism versus non-idealism$
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John Offer

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781861345318

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861345318.001.0001

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date: 18 August 2017

‘Virtue’ and the poor law in Britain and Ireland in the 1830s

‘Virtue’ and the poor law in Britain and Ireland in the 1830s

(p.11) one ‘Virtue’ and the poor law in Britain and Ireland in the 1830s
An intellectual history of British social policy

John Offer

Policy Press

This chapter presents an examination of social theory about the poor law in Britain and Ireland in the 1830s. It addresses the prominence Peter Mandler has accorded to the ideas of the ‘Noetics’ in shaping poor law reform in England in the 1830s and the conflict in events heralding the introduction of a poor law to Ireland in 1838, conflict often overlooked but revealing about the foundations of reform in England. The ideological points of dispute over Ireland among the Noetics help to display the English poor law reform in the full context of Noetic concerns of the day. The review of the decisive Noetic and liberal Tory emphasis on virtue, not utility, has also clarified Victorian poor law thought on agency.

Keywords:   social theory, poor law, Britain, Ireland, Peter Mandler, Noetics, reform

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