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Women and Labour in Late Colonial India

Women and Labour in Late Colonial India
The Bengal Jute Industry


Part of Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society

  • Date Published: May 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521453639

$ 156.00

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About the Authors
  • Samita Sen's history of labouring women in Calcutta in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries considers how social constructions of gender shaped their lives. Dr Sen demonstrates how - in contrast to the experience of their male counterparts - the long-term trends in the Indian economy devalued women's labour, establishing patterns of urban migration and changing gender equations within the family. She relates these trends to the spread of dowry, enforced widowhood and child marriage. The book provides insight into the lives of poor urban women who were often perceived as prostitutes or social pariahs. Even trade unions refused to address their problems and they remained on the margins of organized political protest. The study will make a signficant contribution to the understanding of the social and economic history of colonial India and to notions of gender construction.

    • Broad-ranging examination of labour and gender issues in social and historical context
    • Interdisciplinary perspective: economic and social history, gender studies, colonial history
    • Accessible and well written
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Indian economic history has normally used a narrowly western model of manufacture which describes the principal conflict as between capital and labour. Sen makes a real contribution in describing a further, and specifically Indian, level of complexity.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… this book is a valuable addition to the history of women in colonised societies. It should be of interest to scholars of different disciplines who are interested in the historical and contemporary nexus between work and stratification.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 1999
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521453639
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 1 map 12 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of tables
    List of acronyms and abbreviations
    Map: location of Jute mills along river Hooghly
    1. Migration, recruitment and labour control
    2. 'Will the land not be tilled?': women's work in the rural economy
    3. 'Away from homes': women's work in the mills
    4. Motherhood, mothercraft and the Maternity Benefit Act
    5. In temporary marriages: wives, widows and prostitutes
    6. Working-class politics and women's militancy
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Samita Sen, University of Calcutta

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