Power, Profit, and Patriarchy : The Social Organization of Work at a British Metal Trades Firm, 1791-1922

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Founded in 1791 and in existence for more than two hundred years, the Kenrick iron foundry of West Bromwich, England produced some of the finest cast-iron hardware ever made. William and Clifford Staples' goal in studying the Kenrick case is to examine how taken-for-granted assumptions about class, gender, and familial relations contributed to the longevity of the firm. The authors' investigation uncovers three distinct political regimes of production that they characterize as successive forms of capitalist patriarchy. Indeed, it is contended that the Kenricks were able to maintain their power and their profits, to a great extent, because they were able to use patriarchy to solve pressing organizational problems. By balancing a concern with both the materiality of production and its ideological, cultural, and political moments, this book offers new insights into the nature of production politics, patriarchy, and the historical sociology of capitalism.

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Editorial Reviews

Robert H. Zieger
Power, Profits, and Patriarchy is an outstanding addition to the literature of labor history, industrial sociology, and gender studies. Within the context of a brisk and specific narrative, it deepens understanding of the actual processes by which industrial capitalism began, flourished, and eventually became transmogrified. Resting on exhaustive historical research and thorough engagement with the relevant historical and sociological literature, Power, Profits and Patriarchy provides unique and arresting perspectives on both the historical development of and contemporary crisis in industrial capitalism.
Sonya Rose
Power, Profits, and Patriarchy is an exhaustively researched study that clearly demonstrates how the patriarchal social distinctions characterizing different factory regimes shaped the relations between capital and labor and ultimately molded the formation of their collective interests. It is a theoretically sophisticated analysis that shows how both the material workings of an industry and assumptions about class, gender and age were central to the social organization of work in England during the Industrial Revolution.
Michael Burawoy
Power, Profits, and Patriarchy is a dazzling dance of history and theory. Entering the hidden abode of production of one, carefully situated, English manufacturing firm, Staples and Staples show how work is embedded in a political regime, reconfigured across three centuries through the struggles it organizes—struggles in which class and patriarchy are inextricably intertwined. Following in the footsteps of Karl Marx, they go beyond his economic analysis of the labor process to give the politics of production a new centrality both in people's lives as well as in social theory. This is ethnohistory at its very best!
American Journal of Sociology
A well-documented study of the social relations of the workplace and how these were shaped by gender assumptions. Power, Profits, and Patriarchy contributes to our understanding of the sex segregation of work and the ways hierarchical relations of class and gender reinforced and reproduced each other at the workplace. No one can read this book and continue to doubt that the development of capitalism was a gendered process.
This book tracks changes in the character of industrial organization and labor relations at a British metal trades firm. It examines the capacity of both owners and workers to defend their interests in the production process, and looks at the political, ideological, and rhetorical means by which those interests were articulated, regulated, and promoted. By examining the materiality of production with its ideological, cultural, and political moments, this book offers new insight on the nature of work and on social and class relations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742516403
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/7/2001
  • Series: Sociology
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

William G. Staples is professor of sociology at the University of Kansas. Clifford L. Staples is professor of sociology at the University of North Dakota.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 List of Abbreviations Chapter 3 1 Introduction Chapter 4 2 "Masters and Servants" The Foundations of Patriarchy, 1791-1867 Chapter 5 3 With "Liberality and Kindness": The Genesis of Paternalism, 1868-1891 Chapter 6 4 "You Are Not Paid to Think": The Collapse of Paternalism, 1868-1891 Chapter 7 5 "A Personal Interest in the Prosperity of Their Employers": Bureaucratic Hegemony and the Origins of Social Patriarchy, 1914-1922 Chapter 8 6 Epilogue Chapter 9 Notes Chapter 10 Appendix A: Children's Employment Commission (1862) Chapter 11 Appendix B: Factory and Workshops Acts Commission Part 12 Select Bibliography Part 13 Index Part 14 About the Authors

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