Spinning the Threads of Uneven Development

Spinning the Threads of Uneven Development : Gender and Industrialization in Ireland During the Long Eighteenth Century

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Using the history of the Irish linen industry as a substantive case study Spinning the Threads of Uneven Development shows how gendered variations in the division of labor within and between households affected the economic development of the local and regional textile industry beginning with industrialization through to the transition to industrial capitalism. Author Jane Gray gives us outstanding new research in the fields of social and economic history, women's studies and Irish history.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 172 x 234 x 19mm | 404g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 1, black & white illustrations
  • 0739109472
  • 9780739109472

Review quote

This is an important study by a historical sociologist of the role of gender in protoindustrial Ireland. Gray looks carefully at family structures and how they change, and how they determine and affect strategies for dealing with rapidly changing opportunities in a declining economy. In Ireland there was a striking gender-based division of labor between spinning (women's work) and weaving (men's work) but these boundaries came under pressure and were contested. In addition to the data on Irish households in the protoindustrial districts, she is able to draw on anthropological studies from other places and times to illuminate her argument. -- Ruth-Ann Harris, Boston College Jane Gray has taken a big historical theme-gender and industrialization-and given it a fresh interpretation in relation to the commercial development of the Irish linen industry. Using Ulster folk poetry alongside census and statistical reports, she provides an important and original analysis of the multi-layered web of connections which involved so many Irish individuals, families and communities in the pre-factory era. -- Brenda Collins, Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum Its success rests upon Gray's convincing and innovative use of gender as an analytic tool. By using gender to disrupt and refine the powerful but simplistic models of both proto-industrial and world systems theory, and by exploring gender relations both in statistical and cultural sources, Gray offers a model for a kind of history that deserves more attention. -- September 2007 H- Albion Gray's analysis is ambitious, and her incorporation of various theories related to gender, industrialisation and capitalist development extensive. Irish Economy and Social History, October 2008 In Spinning the Threads of Uneven Development, Jane Gray is doing precisely what needs to be done both in the fields of world and of Irish economic history. No longer can Ireland or any country be analyzed as a singular unit, without full recognition of its role within the world-economy. Nor can historians ignore the role of key social structures such as gender, which make society what it is and which drive social and economic change. Gray utilizes all of the tools that are at hand, from the broad literature on historical change to statistics to songs and poetry, to make an original and important contribution to our understanding of Irish social change and of global uneven development. -- Denis O'Hearn, Queen's University Belfast and Binghamton Universityshow more

About Jane Gray

Jane Gray is Lecturer in Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and Research Associate at the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Trade, Markets, Production Chapter 3 Development Chapter 4 Local Contexts Chapter 5 The Household Arena Chapter 6 Paths to Industrial Capitalism Chapter 7 Conclusion Chapter 8 Appendix 1. The 1821 Cavan Sample Chapter 9 Appendix 2. The Poets and the Poemsshow more