Download Conversations in Cold Rooms: Women, Work and Poverty in by Jane Long PDF

By Jane Long

In what methods did gender impression the form of poverty, and of negative women's paintings, in Victorian England? This e-book explores the difficulty within the context of nineteenth-century Northumberland, reading city and rural stipulations for girls, bad reduction debates and practices, philanthropic job, working-class cultures, and `protective' intervention in women's employment. the best way cultural codes have been built round girls, either by means of those that saw and imagined them and by means of the ladies themselves, is investigated, including different similar modern discourses. whereas having a look heavily on the north-eastern context, the book's broader topics have very important implications for debates inside feminist heritage and conception. the writer argues all through that shut realization to the hyperlinks among fabric stipulations and cultural representations of ladies either illuminates the complex dynamics of working-class femininity and forces a reappraisal of the gendered nature of poverty itself in Victorian lifestyles and mind's eye.

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Additional resources for Conversations in Cold Rooms: Women, Work and Poverty in Nineteenth-Century Northumberland (Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series)

Example text

The relationship between the material experiences of poverty, of poor women in receipt of relief, and wider cultural conceptions of poor women, is neither intended to construct some dialogue between 'image' and 'reality', nor to subordinate what were often (even by nineteenth-century standards) appalling individual circumstances, to the immateriality of language and representation. On the contrary, a key position within this study is that the material and the cultural, the individual experiences and the collective representations of female poverty, were two aspects of the same whole.

Such absences in individual historical studies provide some insight into the ways in which the historiography of poverty has replicated the omissions and assumptions of the past discourses. 10 When the working class and the poor were defined as male, or were portrayed as functioning within a predominantly masculine labour market and living within the setting of the 'private' patriarchal family, women's 7 Scott, 'On language, gender and working-class history', 1. 8 Those exceptions include Ursula Henriques, 'Bastardy and the new poor law', Past and Present xxxvii (1967), 10329, and P.

Poorer people themselves were rarely heard in 'conversations' about their circumstances, and this silence finds its reflection in historical literature. Certainly, a growing number of social investigations by contemporaries such as Henry Mayhew, or later, Mary Higgs brought the life style of the poor sections of the working class into focus;4 but generally, to linger too long in the shadows, to give a voice to those who had 'ceased to count' in any estimation of progress, detracted from the major task of transformation which was required.

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