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The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class (Studies on the History of Society and Culture) Hardcover – April 30, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Studies on the History of Society and Culture (Book 23)
  • Hardcover: 415 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1ST edition (April 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520086244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520086241
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,365,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"In its analysis of gender and class relations and their political forms, in giving voice to the many who have left only a fleeting trace in the historical record, Clark's study is a pioneering classic. . . . It also has a salience for many of our present social and political dilemmas."—Leonore Davidoff, Editor, Gender and History

"Deeply researched, scholarly, serious, important. This is a big book that develops a significant new line of inquiry on a classic story in modern history—the making of the English working class. Clark shows in great and persuasive detail how we might read this tale through the lens of gender."—Thomas Laqueur, author of Making Sex

About the Author

Anna Clark is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina. She is the author of Women's Silence, Men's Violence: Sexual Assault in England, 1770-1845 (1987).

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hobart VINE VOICE on February 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Building upon E.P. Thompson's definition of the "Working Class" in Britain, Anna Clark has developed a definitive study of the role that gender played in the development of this class during the era of the Industrial Revolution. Her primary argument is that gender played a "profound" role in the development of the Working Class (p. 264), which is a significant enhancement to Thompson's work. To determine whether or not gender did help to define the British Working Class, she evaluated social forces such as marital relationships, sexual morality, and labor. She has further branched out to include an assessment of political radicalization and Chartism in an effort to fully define the effect of gender on the formation of the British Working Class during the Industrial Revolution.

The authors' evaluation of marital relationships and sexual morality showed a challenging environment often permeated with husbands violently beating their wives because of their "nagging". Popular literature, such as the tale of "The Bold Cobbler" (p. 71) shows that people widely accepted the concept of male domination in this particular "class" of society, thus demonstrating the importance of gender within the family structure, and, because of the occupation of "cobbler", the link to the working class. Sexual morality differed greatly between the working class and the middle class, but the economics of the working class mandated this difference; almost to the point of promiscuity in some working class women. Clark explains this point well when she evaluates the "cock-and-hen" clubs on p. 58. Sexuality was the ticket to continued subsistence for some of these women.
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By Robert T. Preston on April 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Met Anna Clark at a program she was giving, at Bradley University. Was so inspired by her work, that I purchased this book, which is great!
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