Volume 51 part 2 (August 2006)


Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, Segmentation in the Pre-Industrial Labour Market: Women's Work in the Dutch Textile Industry, 1581-1810
This article analyses women's work in the Dutch textile industry in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries within the framework of dual (or segmented) labour market theory. This theoretical framework is usually applied to the modern labour market, but it is also valuable for historical research. It clarifies, for example, how segmentation in the labour market influenced men's and women's work in the textile industry. Applying this analysis, we find that, even in periods without explicit gender conflict, patriarchal and capitalist forces utilized the gender segmentation of the labour market to redefine job status and labour relations in periods of economic change. Although this could harm the economic position of all women and migrants, it appears that single women were affected most by these mechanisms.

Richard J. Soderlund, Resistance from the Margins: The Yorkshire Worsted Spinners, Policing and the Transformation of Work in the Early Industrial Revolution
This article takes as its subject the handspinners of Yorkshire's eighteenth-century worsted industry. When not ignored altogether, historians have presented handspinners as invariably weak and passive. While manufacturers exploited the industry's women workers, spinners were neither submissive nor compliant. Their history, in part, was one of resistance. Spinners' everyday resistance took its most important form in the unauthorized practice of supplementing money wages with yarn and wool from the production process. The scale and extent of such pilfering led manufacturers to one of the more remarkable initiatives in eighteenth-century industrial relations: the establishment of an industrial police force to detect and prosecute embezzlement. Policing would play a major role in the industry. Ultimately, however, its limitations helped to prompt manufacturers to pursue organizational and technological innovations to bring greater order to the spinning sector. Thus spinners' prosaic resistance had the unforeseen consequence of contributing to the demise of their occupation.

Marc W. Steinberg, Unfree Labor, Apprenticeship and the Rise of the Victorian Hull Fishing Industry: An Example of the Importance of Law and the Local State in British Economic Change
Within the last decade there has been considerable renewed attention on the importance of British master and servant law in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a means of labor discipline and control. This article argues for further analyses of how the law was used within local contexts and specific industries and calls for increased focus on the role of the local state in labor relations. It argues that unfree labor played an important role in the development of some industries, and challenges claims of the demise of apprenticeship in later nineteenth-century England. Through an analysis of the Hull fish trawling industry in 1864-75 it demonstrates that the exploitation of apprentice labor, and the control of fishing apprentices through punitive master servant prosecutions were vital to the expansion of the trade.

Jenny Andersson, Choosing Futures: Alva Myrdal and the Construction of Swedish Futures Studies 1967-1972
This article discusses the Swedish discourse on futures studies in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It focuses on the futures discourse of the group appointed by the prime minister Olof Palme in 1967 under the chairmanship of Alva Myrdal. The Swedish futures discourse focused on futures studies as a democratic means of reform in defence of the Swedish model and "Swedish" values of solidarity and equality, in opposition to an international futurology dominated by the cold war and dystopic narratives of global disaster. The article suggests that the creation of Swedish futures studies, culminating in a Swedish institute for futures studies, can be seen as a highpoint of postwar planning and the Swedish belief in the possibility of constructing a particularly Swedish future from a particularly Swedish past.