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Intimacy, Community and Power: Bedding Rituals in Eighteenth-Century Scotland

  • Katie BarclayEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions book series (Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions)

Abstract

Bedding rituals were a popular part of the wedding ceremony for early modern Scots, a ‘spatial drama’ which held cultural and emotional meaning. Leaving the couple alone in the bedroom symbolised consummation and, in a culture where church wedding ceremonies were unnecessary, placed sex at the heart of marriage. Such physical movements through space were not just symbolic, but constitutive. As well as creating a marriage, the bedding ritual generated a particular form of emotional intimacy – one that focused on sexual intimacy, family, community and gendered power. While the marriage bedding ritual was only performed once, going to bed as a married couple should be a daily occurrence, promoting this form of intimacy across married life.

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© The Author(s) 2017

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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