Making a Living, Making a Difference: Gender and Work in Early Modern European Society (Hardback)
  • Making a Living, Making a Difference: Gender and Work in Early Modern European Society (Hardback)
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Making a Living, Making a Difference: Gender and Work in Early Modern European Society (Hardback)

(editor)
£74.00
Hardback 274 Pages / Published: 02/02/2017
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What do people do all day? What did women and men do to make a living in early modern Europe, and what did their work mean? As this book shows, the meanings depended both on the worker and on the context. With an innovative analytic method that is yoked to a specially-built database of source materials, this book revises many received opinions about the history of gender and work in Europe. The applied verb-oriented method finds the 'work verbs' that appear incidentally in a wide variety of early modern sources and then analyzes the context in which they appear. By tying information technologies and computer-assisted analysis to the analytic powers - both quantitative and qualitative - of professional historians, the method gets much closer to a participatory observation of the micro-patterns of early modern life than was once believed possible. It directly addresses a number of broad problems often debated by historians of gender and early modern Europe. First, it discusses the problem of assessing more accurately the incidence, character and division of work. Second, it analyzes the configurations of work and human difference. Third, it deals with the extent to which work practices created notions of difference - gender difference but also other forms of difference - and, conversely, to what extent work practices contributed to notions of sameness and gender convergence. Finally, it studies the impact of processes of change. Drawing on sources from Sweden, the authors show the importance of multiple employment, the openness of early modern households, the significance of marriage and marital status, the gendered nature of specific tasks, and the ways in which state formation and commercialization were entangled in people's everyday lives.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190240615
Number of pages: 274
Weight: 590 g
Dimensions: 240 x 158 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Maria Agren and her team employ a straightforward method (analyze some 16,000 descriptions of people at work) to surprising result. They find women as managers, marriage as privilege, emerging states as reliant on working wives, and much, much more. Their book is a new touchstone for our understanding of work in early modern Europe."-- Judith M. Bennett, University of Southern California


"Complicating the categories and assumptions that have long driven the study of gender and work, this field-changing book has implications for scholars whose focus lies well beyond early modern Europe. Agren and her colleagues have applied 'big data' techniques to enduring questions with lively, often surprising, and certainly compelling effect."--Marla Miller, University of Massachusetts Amherst


"If you are going to read one book about the history of women's (and men's) work, this is it. Pioneering work, colorful detail, far-reaching analysis. Read and enjoy!"--Sheilagh Ogilvie, author of A Bitter Living: Women, Markets and Social Capital in Early Modern Germany




"The essays situate work culturally and socially, finding that people performed group identity and social hierarchy through their work, constructing difference and sameness. The 'verb-oriented method' of tracing work offers excellent possibilities for the analysis of many types of economies, so though the essays are all about Sweden, they are highly suggestive for those interested in measuring work and its meaning anywhere. Highly recommended."--CHOICE


"Maria Agren and her team employ a straightforward method (analyze some 16,000 descriptions of people at work) to surprising result. They find women as managers, marriage as privilege, emerging states as reliant on working wives, and much, much more. Their book is a new touchstone for our understanding of work in early modern Europe."-- Judith M. Bennett, University of Southern California


"Complicating the categories and assumptions that have long driven the study of gender and work, this field-changing book has implications for scholars whose focus lies well beyond early modern Europe. Agren and her colleagues have applied 'big data' techniques to enduring questions with lively, often surprising, and certainly compelling effect."--Marla Miller, University of Massachusetts Amherst


"If you are going to read one book about the history of women's (and men's) work, this is it. Pioneering work, colorful detail, far-reaching analysis. Read and enjoy!"--Sheilagh Ogilvie, author of A Bitter Living: Women, Markets and Social Capital in Early Modern Germany


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