'Monsters of the Vilest Kind': Infanticidal Women and Attitudes To Their Criminality In Eighteenth–century Scotland

Anne-Marie Kilday

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper has two aims. Firstly it will illustrate the nature of child murder in 18thcentury Scotland, a country where infanticide practices appear anomalous compared to those encountered elsewhere. Secondly, the paper will consider how attitudes to this type of gendered criminality were voiced by legal authorities, contemporary social commentators, the media and the wider populace. The piece hopes to shed light on how infanticidal women were regarded, whether these opinions filtered into the legal process women faced, and whether these attitudes changed over time and for what reasons. This investigation will be all the more interesting to undertake in relation to a country which was experiencing rapid change during the 18th century, and where the 'moral' legislative body, in the form of the Kirk Session, was desperately trying to negotiate and maintain its grip on the 'common' people, despite the growth of a more secular, commercially orientated society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-115
Number of pages16
JournalFamily & Community History
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

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