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Saturday 15 April 2023 08.30 - 10.30
T-13 WOM11a Household and Home: Gender and the Dynamics of Power I
Volvosalen
Networks: Family and Demography , Women and Gender Chair: Nina Koefoed
Organizer: Deborah Simonton Discussant: Gudrun Andersson
Katie Barclay : A Childhood of Things: Eighteenth-century Scottish Accounting
Histories of childhood have noted the increasing specialisation of goods, clothing and other materials for children, especially from the late eighteenth century, and suggested the ways that readings of such materials open up insight into the child and its place in society. Accounting books also show traces of children in ... (Show more)
Histories of childhood have noted the increasing specialisation of goods, clothing and other materials for children, especially from the late eighteenth century, and suggested the ways that readings of such materials open up insight into the child and its place in society. Accounting books also show traces of children in the goods purchased by parents and the costs expended on their upbringing. If material culture offers insight into childhood and identity, such traces of materiality in accounts might be read as a form of biographical record of the child, enabling histories of family relationships and household dynamics. This paper explores accounts by middle-class British parents for evidence of their relationships with children and the operation of the household, considering not only how such purchasing highlights the gendered care given to children but that it can be read for the rhythms of an everyday life shaped by consumption practices. In attending to the relationships that emerge from this record, this paper explores how a focus on the economic placement of children in the home produces new histories of power, emotion and the gender dynamics of family life. (Show less)

Anne Montenach : Gender, Work and Power Relationships in the Silk Industry: the Protoindustrial Family in Eighteenth-century Lyon
In Lyon during the eighteenth century, the textile sector, the city’s largest industrial sector, was dominated by the silk industry (Grande Fabrique) which employed up to 34,000 workers in 1789. The Grande Fabrique was, with its mass of employees and annual turnover, one of the largest ‘industries’ in eighteenth-century France, ... (Show more)
In Lyon during the eighteenth century, the textile sector, the city’s largest industrial sector, was dominated by the silk industry (Grande Fabrique) which employed up to 34,000 workers in 1789. The Grande Fabrique was, with its mass of employees and annual turnover, one of the largest ‘industries’ in eighteenth-century France, but it was still a craft-based structure through family workshop units located within Lyon’s city limits. These workshops produced fabrics with large motifs using a variety of colours, known as ‘façonnés’ (flowered silks). This system required help from several assistants, who were mostly female. Girls and women thus represented a large proportion of the skilled labour force in silk manufacturing. A well-established sexual division of labour relegated females to lower-paid ancillary tasks and guild restrictions gave preference to women with family ties to masters.

This paper addresses the role women and girls played in relation with the gendered division of economic roles within urban working-class family units and how women’s work – and more precisely their access to work on the loom – was a real issue in power conflicts and a tool for household strategies. It is based on source documents which had not been studied systematically until now (transcripts and judgements deposited in the Grande Fabrique archives, registers of the police des métiers complete with a summary of wage conflicts and infringements to regulations) and offer opportunities to give visibility to a number of women who would otherwise have disappeared from the classic corporate archives. For instance, these registers provide evidence of the constraints and obstacles against which these women had to fight or circumvent and the arguments structuring the wage system. But they also highlight the fact that at least some of these women knew how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by consular tribunals for being heard. (Show less)

Deborah Simonton : Household and Home: Girlhood in the Working Classes
People in the eighteenth century had a common-sense view of girlhood. They recognised a lifecycle stage between childhood and adulthood during which the essential transmission of culture as well as training in the skills needed to make a living took place. The important elements were that girlhood was seen as ... (Show more)
People in the eighteenth century had a common-sense view of girlhood. They recognised a lifecycle stage between childhood and adulthood during which the essential transmission of culture as well as training in the skills needed to make a living took place. The important elements were that girlhood was seen as formative and that the home, however defined, had a significant role to play in shaping the character of that lifecycle stage. Its acceptance was independent of the nature of relationships, not inevitably motivated by close affection, nor was it necessary for the household to be the familial home. Probably most girls from labouring families spent their early and formative years, and much of their early working life in the familial home. However, many would have left home by fourteen, going into farm or domestic service, apprenticeship or non-apprenticed work. But still one-third to a half probably remained until marriage. This paper will sketch the relationship between homes and households and girls’ upbringing, examining the power dynamics that operated. To some extent the paper will also examine how girls articulated their experience of girlhood and the extent to which they were engaged in the process and able to make choices within the household dynamic. Mothers often had the main task of bringing up daughters, at least until they left for work or marriage. Often however, other women, fathers, household servants and others were important influences on them. Also, those who went to work, apprenticeship or service encountered other dynamics. These influences were not always benign or altruistic, and the power dynamics between household heads, masters and mistresses, women with whom girls worked, including mothers, and the girl could be fraught with tension. Our world thinks of the teenage years as problematic, ‘something to be got over’, and we cannot assume that adolescence was trouble-free in the eighteenth century either. (Show less)

Sarah Toulalan : Powerless to Resist: Child Sexual Abuse in Early Modern and Eighteenth-century England
Historians of children and childhood in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries now conclude that children were desired, loved and generally valued in family life, not only for themselves but also because they embodied hopes for the future - both of individual families and their future social, political and economic status, ... (Show more)
Historians of children and childhood in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries now conclude that children were desired, loved and generally valued in family life, not only for themselves but also because they embodied hopes for the future - both of individual families and their future social, political and economic status, and for society more broadly in the continuation of political and religious stability. However, children nevertheless had very little status and even less power in a hierarchically ordered society where they were expected to be under the care and control of others, either parents, or, in their absence, of guardians, other adults or parish authorities. Legally, their rights and responsibilities were also considerably circumscribed reflecting their status as minors.

This was also a society in which gender also governed legal status and the value of one’s word: women’s evidence carried less weight than men’s, and in prosecutions for rape, their accusations were heard in the light of Sir Matthew Hale’s oft-repeated warning that rape was ‘an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved’. Children and women were ‘generally ranked together’ with regard ‘to the disability of their persons’ in law. As rape was at this time a capital crime there was considerable concern that the evidence against a man should be sufficiently strong to inspire confidence in a conviction that would take away a man’s life. As both female and young, a girl bringing an accusation of rape or sexual assault may therefore be regarded as having been doubly disadvantaged, and her voice potentially easily disregarded in comparison with the weight accorded to others providing testimony in court.

This paper investigates the extent to which the low status of children in relation to household power structures contributed to, or even facilitated, their vulnerability to sexual abuse by others within the household, whether by parents or guardians, other kin, servants and apprentices or other employees, or visitors. Those who sexually assaulted and raped children within the space of the household, including both living and workspace, often used threats and fear to silence a child during commission of the offence and also afterwards to try and prevent the child from revealing what had happened.

For the purposes of this discussion, the age of fourteen is taken as the upper boundary of childhood, although this was neither fixed nor consistent at this time. Age categories shifted according to different purposes or markers, whether these were biological markers such as puberty or legal to do with sexual consent, competence to stand trial or to give evidence under oath in court. The paper is based on analysis of published accounts of trials for rape and sexual assault tried at the Old Bailey, London, in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in which just over half (51%) involved girls aged fourteen and under and assize court depositions from the Northern Circuit in England. (Show less)



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