Idle Hands: The Experience of Unemployment 1790-1990

Overview

Idle Hands is the first major social history of unemployment in Britain covering the last 200 years. It focuses on the experiences of working people in becoming unemployed, coping with unemployment and searching for work, and their reactions and responses to their problems. Direct evidence of the impact of unemployment drawn from extensive personal biographies complements economic and statistical analysis.

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Overview

Idle Hands is the first major social history of unemployment in Britain covering the last 200 years. It focuses on the experiences of working people in becoming unemployed, coping with unemployment and searching for work, and their reactions and responses to their problems. Direct evidence of the impact of unemployment drawn from extensive personal biographies complements economic and statistical analysis.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415055017
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/28/1994
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Unemployment in the Countryside, 1790-1834 10
War and unemployment, 1793-1815 10
Peace and pauperism, 1815-30 20
The cure for unemployment? 34
2 A Dying Trade: The Case of the Handloom Weavers, 1790-1850 42
Size and structure 44
Act 1: 'The Golden Age', 1780-1800 47
Act 2: 'The Deplorable Change', 1800-15 50
Act 3: 'Bitter Distress', 1815-30 54
Act 4: 'Flee the Trade', 1830-50 63
3 Unemployment Among Skilled Workers, 1815-70 78
The erosion of skill 82
The experience of unemployment 87
Responses and reactions 109
4 Unemployment on the Land, 1834-1914 122
The new poor law 122
'Life under the bread tax' 124
The flight from the land 130
The revolt of the field 139
5 The 'Discovery' of Unemployment, 1870-1914 145
'The fundamental problem of modern society' (The Times, 1888) 145
Unskilled labourers 158
Boy labour and women's labour 172
Skilled workers 177
Responses and remedies 186
6 'The Worst of Times?' Unemployment Between the Wars 199
The causes of unemployment 199
The extent and incidence of unemployment 204
The experience of unemployment 213
7 Back to Unemployment, 1970-90 265
The extent of unemployment 265
The causes of job loss 268
Who are the unemployed? 272
The job search 277
Financial circumstances 279
Social and psychological effects 284
Health 293
Adaptations to unemployment 295
Conclusion 304
References 316
Bibliography: autobiographies, diaries and memoirs (including collections) 353
Index 359
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