Barmaids: A History of Women's Work in Pubs

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In this innovative mixture of labor history and cultural history, Diane Kirkby explores the central figure of the barmaid. Drawing on previously unexplored archives, new documentary sources and oral history, Barmaids traces the sexualization of the industry and the feminist and temperance debates about it. It covers women's demands for equal pay and drinking rights in the postwar period and concludes in the mid-1990s with changes in the labor market and drinking customs that saw the end of the old pub culture and the place of barmaids within it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Historian Diane Kirkby...has turned her considerable skill to the intriguing history of Australian women publicans in her book Barmaids: A History of Women's Work in Pubs." Washington Times

"...the breadth of interpretation and material make this work of use to a variety of students and scholars. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above." Choice

"...fascinating study of barmaids in modern Australia." Thomas Brennan, American Historical Review

"...the most pioneering of contemporary Australian labor history studies. This search for the hidden life of work has yielded a rich history." Mark Hearn, Labor History

"...Kirkby offers a splendidly told history of a crucial aspect of Australia's development." Gina Hames, Journal of Social History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521568685
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/13/1998
  • Series: Studies in Australian History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. 'No place for a woman?': pub-keeping in colonial times; 2. 'The photographer and the barmaid': narrating women's work 1850s-1910s; 3. 'The problem of the barmaids': urbanisation and legislative reform 1870s-80s; 4. 'Wanted, a beautiful barmaid...': temperance and the language of desire; 5. 'White slaves behind the bar': the WCTU, the nation, and 'the barmaid'; 6. 'When men wore hats': gender, unions, and equal pay 1908-49; 7. 'Beer, glorious beer': pub culture and the six o'clock swill 1920-50s; 8. 'In praise of splendid gels': sex, work and drinking culture 1960s-90s; Epilogue.

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