Call for papers – World Economic History Congress Utrecht, 3-7 August 2009
Proposed session - Industrious women and children of the world? Jan de Vries’ ‘industrious revolution’ as a conceptual tool for researching women’s and children’s work in an international perspective
- Jane Humphries (Oxford University, All Souls College)
- Ariadne Schmidt (International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam)
- Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk (Leiden University, History Department)
In August 2009, The International Economic History Association (IEHA) will hold its fifteenth World Economic History Congress in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The conference organizers have issued a second call for sessions, which will be decided upon this fall.
We intend to propose the following session about the use of Jan de Vries’ concept of ‘the industrious revolution’ for the investigation of pre-industrial women’s and children’s work around the globe.
With this session, we hope to contribute to the conference, by offering a gender, age and global comparative perspective on the economics of household behaviour.
Below you will find a description of the session proposal we would like to submit.
We want to invite economic and labour historians studying women’s and children’s work from all over the world. We especially welcome scholars working on regions outside Western Europe, in order to attain a broad geographical comparison. Scholars working on East Asia and Southeast Asia, Central Europe, or the Ottoman Empire are specifically invited to send in a paper proposal.
Please send your paper proposal (max. 500 words, by e-mail) before Friday 12 September 2008 to:
Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk firstname.lastname@example.org
Industrious women and children of the world? Jan de Vries’ ‘industrious revolution’ as a conceptual tool for researching women’s and children’s work in an international perspective
In the early 1990s, Jan de Vries launched his concept of the ‘industrious revolution’. He assumed that, from the mid-seventeenth century onwards, households, as units of reproduction, consumption and production, decided to change both their consumptive and their productive behaviour. Families chose to re-allocate their time and labour power in order to expand their consumptive possibilities. This household-based resource allocation, increased the supply of market goods as well as the demand for marketed commodities, thus laying the foundation for economic development in the period before industrialization. According to De Vries, one important means to reach this goal, was mobilizing (married) women and children as wage labourers.
With this session, we aim to get a better understanding of the household economy and its contribution to the larger economy by discussing the use of the industrious revolution as a conceptual tool. To what extent is the industrious revolution a valuable concept for theorizing about changing patterns in women’s and children’s work? How do actual empirical findings on women’s and children’s work relate to De Vries’ larger theoretical framework? And, very importantly, what is the geographical scope of De Vries’ theory? To what extent is it applicable to economies outside Western Europe, for instance in Southern or Central Europe, the Ottoman Empire, India, or Japan?
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