The Politics of Work: Gender and Labour in Victoria, 1880-1939

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The Politics of Work is concerned with the complex relationship between economic and technological change, the nature of sexual division in the workforce, and the role of union, employer and state activists. It carefully traces the impact of all of these factors on wage levels for men and women. The treatment of these themes touches on wide historical issues, as we follow the fortunes of Victorian manufacturing and consider the political strategies of the trade unions of the time and the state's response to them. The study is also an important piece of social history, evoking the nature of work for many Australians of the period.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The data base is impressive in terms of its extent and its blend of quantitative and non-quantitative material, revealing an immense amount of hands-on work. Even more impressive is the way the author comes to grips with it. She promises, and achieves, a multi-faceted explanation of change in the labour process, encompassing the interaction between product and labour markets, technological advances, supply of capital, state interventions and racial and gender orders." Alison Turtle, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

"...does much to explain how 'skill' has been gendered historically and how women have come to occupy an inferior position in the capitalist labour market." Christina Burr, Labor History

"Frances' examination of three industries—clothing, boot-making and printing—is both thought-provoking and readable....[S]he is very persuasive in tracing the effects, which often are shown to be unpredictable or counter-productive, of technology and government intervention upon the conditions of work." Thomas E. Tausky, Australian and New Zealand Studies in Canada

"She ably demonstrates the importance of perceiving uneven developement with regard to gender and labor and of avoiding monocausal explanations of both change and the maintenance of the status quo....Frances's book makes a useful contribution to a more nuanced understanding of women's labor history." Judith Allen, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521401999
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/23/1993
  • Series: Studies in Australian History Series
  • Pages: 279
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. Before the Wages Boards: Introduction; 1. 'The advent of machines and women': the clothing industries 1880–1896; 2. 'An age of grim adversity': the boot industry 1880–1896; 3. Drawing the line: the printing industries 1880–1900; Part II. The Wages Board Era: Introduction; 4. 'No more Amazons': the clothing industries, 1897–1919; 5. The workers baffled: the boot industry, 1897–1910; 6. Educating the girls: the printing industries, 1901–1925; Part III. The Era of Federal Wage Fixing: Introduction; 7. Diplomacy and guerilla warfare: the clothing industries, 1919–1939; 8. The Cinderella of the skilled trades: the boot industry, 1911–1939; 9. Marginal matters: the printing industry, 1925–1937; Conclusion; Bibliography.
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