The First Industrial Woman

The First Industrial Woman

3.75 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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Why study women and the industrial revolution? Deborah Valenze's groundbreaking reassessment of this classic problem in European history reminds us that questions of gender and work are at the center of our experience in the modern world.
Too often, the study of industrialization charts an inevitable and largely technological course. Valenze sets aside this approach in order to examine the underlying assumptions about gender and work that informed the transformation of English society, and in turn, our ideas about economic progress. How did England change from an agriculturally based nation, in which female labor played an active and acknowledged part, to an industrial power resting on a notion of male productivity? Through selective treatments of agriculture, spinning, and cottage industries, Valenze shows how the rise of values of productivity and rationality subordinated women of the working class and strengthened an emerging ethos of individualism. She also analyzes the influential ideas of Thomas Malthus, Hannah More, and other authors, whose publications reinforced these same tendencies in the early nineteenth century. In an elegant and compelling account, Valenze charts the birth of a new economic order resting on social and sexual hierarchies which remain a part of our contemporary lives.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 155.4 x 234.2 x 18.5mm | 408.07g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 halftone, tables
  • 0195089820
  • 9780195089820

Review quote

This book is to be welcomed as a brave contribution to the study of a complex subject exciting recasting of the process of industrial transformation ... Valenze has produced a wide-ranging exploration of the nature of industrial transformation ... Valenze's impressive clarity of exposition does not disguise the complexity of the issues uncovered and inspected in this challenging book. It is to be hoped that business historians and others inquisitive about the industrial past will give serious consideration to the ideas presented here. Katrina Honeyman, University of Leeds, Business History, July 1996
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Rating details

8 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 25% (2)
4 25% (2)
3 50% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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