Inferior Politics: Social Problems and Social Policies in Eighteenth-Century Britain (OUP Oxford,October 2009).
Inferior Politics explores how social policy was created in Britain in a period when central government was not active in making it. Parliament proved capable of generating national legislation nonetheless-and provided a forum for debate even when it was impossible to mobilise consensus behind any particular plan. In this setting, there was a lively, and surprisingly inclusive, 'politics' of social policy-making, in which 'inferior' officers of government (what we might call 'local authorities') figured prominently.
The book explores institutional structures which shaped these debates and their outcomes, and supplies several case studies of policy-making: one focussing on some of the less well-known activities of William Wilberforce, as he attempted to promote a national 'reformation of manners'; others featuring such apparently marginal figures as imprisoned debtors and a lowly (and bigoted) London constable. A central chapter explores the history of social and economic empirical enquiry from the invention of 'political arithmetic' in the later seventeenth century through to the first census of 1801, detailing similar interaction between government and private enthusiasts.
Drawing together three decades of the author's work, including two new essays, Inferior Politics demonstrates how Joanna Innes has significantly revised and extended our understanding of the ways and means of British domestic government, in an era marked by institutional continuity but continuing and vigorously debated social challenges.
Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions: America, France, Britain, Ireland 1750-1850 (Oxford University Press, May 2015).
Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions charts a transformation in the way people thought about democracy in the North Atlantic region in the years between the American Revolution and the revolutions of 1848. In the mid-eighteenth century, 'democracy' was a word known only to the literate. It was associated primarily with the ancient world and had negative connotations: democracies were conceived to be unstable, warlike, and prone to mutate into despotisms. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the word had passed into general use, although it was still not necessarily an approving term. In fact, there was much debate about whether democracy could achieve robust institutional form in advanced societies.
In this volume, a cast of internationally-renowned contributors shows how common trends developed throughout the United States, France, Britain, and Ireland, particularly focussing on the era of the American, French, and subsequent European revolutions. Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutionsargues that 'modern democracy' was not invented in one place and then diffused elsewhere, but instead was the subject of parallel re-imaginings, as ancient ideas and examples were selectively invoked and reworked for modern use. The contributions significantly enhance our understanding of the diversity and complexity of our democratic inheritance.