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International Studies in Social History
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What is Work?
Gender at the Crossroads of Home, Family, and Business from the Early Modern Era to the Present
Edited by Raffaella Sarti, Anna Bellavitis, and Manuela Martini
398 pages, 10 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78533-911-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2018)
ISBN 978-1-78920-802-3 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (November 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78533-912-7 eBook
“One of the strong points of this volume is the excellent theoretical framework offered by its editors. They begin with a solid introduction that not only serves to present the contributions but also allows to pose questions and to raise the problems approached in this volume…This work of very high quality helps to understand the multiple forms of first female and then feminist mobilization regarding the definition and redistribution of the work accomplished by women in the domestic sphere.” • Clio
Every society throughout history has defined what counts as work and what doesn’t. And more often than not, those lines of demarcation are inextricable from considerations of gender. What Is Work? offers a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding labor within the highly gendered realm of household economies. Drawing from scholarship on gender history, economic sociology, family history, civil law, and feminist economics, these essays explore the changing and often contested boundaries between what was and is considered work in different Euro-American contexts over several centuries, with an eye to the ambiguities and biases that have shaped mainstream conceptions of work across all social sectors.
Raffaella Sarti is Associate Professor of Early Modern History and Gender History at the University of Urbino, Italy, and is a member of the editorial collective of Gender & History. Her studies address family and material culture, women’s work, domestic service, Mediterranean slavery, masculinity, and graffiti, among other topics. She is the author of numerous publications in nine languages.
Anna Bellavitis is Professor of Early Modern History, Director of the Groupe de Recherche d’Histoire at Université de Rouen-Normandie, and senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France. She has led numerous international research projects on family history, gender history, and labor history in Early Modern Europe in collaboration with European universities and institutions.
Manuela Martini is Professor of Modern History at the Université Lumière Lyon 2. She has directed international research projects on labor history, family and gender history, and labor migration. A member of Gender & History’s editorial collective, she has published extensively in multiple languages and has authored or edited sixteen books and special journal issues.
Subject: History (General) Gender Studies and Sexuality
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Introduction: What is Work? Gender at the Crossroads of Home, Family, and Business from the Early Modern Era to the Present
Raffaella Sarti, Anna Bellavitis, and Manuela Martini
PART I: SETTING THE SCENE: THE FEMINIST CHALLENGES TO THE "DELABORIZATION" OF HOUSEHOLD WORK
Chapter 1. Family Work: A Policy-Relevant Intellectual History
Chapter 2. Productive and Reproductive Work: Uses and Abuses of an Old Dichotomy
Chapter 3. The Home as a Factory: Rethinking the Debate on Housewives’ Wages in Italy, 1929-1980
PART II: THE CUNNING HISTORIAN: UNVEILING AND OVERCOMING THE GENDER BIAS OF SOURCES
Chapter 4. The Statistical Construction of Women’s Work and the Male Breadwinner Economy in Spain (1856-1930)
Chapter 5. Toiling Women, Non-Working Housewives and Rightful Citizens: Statistical and Legal Constructions of Female Work and Citizenship in Italy
Chapter 6. The Complexities of Work: Analyzing Men’s and Women’s Work in the Early Modern World with the Verb-Oriented Method
Chapter 7. The Visibility of Women’s Work: Logics and Contexts of Documents’ Production
PART III: THE VALUE OF CARE AND UNPAID HOME-BASED WORK: THE ROLE OF THE LAW
Chapter 8. Regulating Home Labours: The ILO and the Feminization of Work
Chapter 9. Family-Relations Law between "Stratification" and "Resistance". Housework and Family Law Exceptionalism
Maria Rosaria Marella
Chapter 10. Could Family (Care) Work Be Paid? From French Agricultural Inheritance Law (1939) to Legal Recognition of Excessive Filial Duty (1994)
PART IV: CONCLUSION
Conclusion: Can We Construct a Holistic Approach to Women’s Labor History over the Longue Durée?
Laura Lee Downs
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