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Bondage : Labor and Rights in Eurasia from the Sixteenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries

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For the first time, this book provides the global history of labor in Central Eurasia, Russia, Europe, and the Indian Ocean between the sixteenth and the twentieth centuries. It contests common views on free and unfree labor, and compares the latter to many Western countries where wage conditions resembled those of domestic servants. This gave rise to extreme forms of dependency in the colonies, not only under slavery, but also afterwards in form of indentured labor in the Indian Ocean and obligatory labor in Africa. Stanziani shows that unfree labor and forms of economic coercion were perfectly compatible with market development and capitalism, proven by the consistent economic growth that took place all over Eurasia between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries. This growth was labor intensive: commercial expansion, transformations in agriculture, and the first industrial revolution required more labor, not less. Finally, Stanziani demonstrates that this world did not collapse after the French Revolution or the British industrial revolution, as is commonly assumed, but instead between 1870 and 1914, with the second industrial revolution and the rise of the welfare state.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 268 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 14.48mm | 367g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1785330357
  • 9781785330353
  • 2,123,755

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introduction PART I: BONDAGE IMAGINED Chapter 1. Second Serfdom and Wage-Earners in European and Russian Thought from the Enlightenment to the Mid-Nineteenth Century Chapter 2. Poor Laws, Management, and Labor Control in Russia and Britain, or the History of the Bentham Brothers in Russia PART II: THE ARCHITECTURE OF BONDAGE. SLAVES AND SERFS IN CENTRAL ASIA AND RUSSIA Chapter 3. Slavery and Bondage in Central Asia and Russia from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Century Chapter 4. The Institutions of Serfdom Chapter 5. Labor and Dependence on Russian Estates PART III: OLD BONDAGE, NEW PRACTICES. A COMPARATIVE VIEW. RUSSIA, EUROPE, AND THE INDIAN OCEAN WORLDS Chapter 6. The Persistent Servant: Labor, Rules, and Social Hierarchies in France and Britain from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century Chapter 7. Bondage across the Ocean. Indentured Labor in the Indian Ocean General Conclusion: The Collapse and Resurgence of Bondage Bibliography Index
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Review quote

"The strength of Stanziani's work is his lively engagement with numerous scholars over the meaning and significance of labor around the world. Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with the many arguments he posits, his ideas deserve attention, and are sure to inspire further research and discussion... Highly recommended." * Choice "This is an iconoclastic work, based on a vast knowledge of the relevant literature and on archival materials in French, English, and Russian. It effectively undermines several certainties that have characterized our thinking about the history of labor relations worldwide." * Marcel van der Linden, International Institute of Social History
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About Alessandro Stanziani

Alessandro Stanziani is Professor at the EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) and Senior Researcher at the CNRS (Centre National des recherches Scientifiques), Paris. He is the author of four monographs, ten edited volumes, and more than one hundred articles. His books include Rules of exchange: French capitalism in Comparative Perspective, 18th-20th Centuries (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Batisseurs d'Empires. Russie, Chine et Inde a la conquete du monde (Liber-Seuil, 2012).
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