This impressive collection offers the first systematic global and comparative history of textile workers over the course of 350 years. This period covers the major changes in wool and cotton production, and the global picture from pre-industrial times through to the twentieth century.
After an introduction, the first part of the book is divided into twenty national studies on textile production over the period 1650-2000. To make them useful tools for international comparisons, each national overview is based on a consistent framework that defines the topics and issues to be treated in each chapter. The countries described have been selected to included the major historic producers of woollen and cotton fabrics, and the diversity of global experience, and include not only European nations, but also Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, Uruguay and the USA.
The second part of the book consists of ten comparative papers on topics including globalization and trade, organization of production, space, identity, workplace, institutions, production relations, gender, ethnicity and the textile firm. These are based on the national overviews and additional literature, and will help apply current interdisciplinary and cultural concerns to a subject traditionally viewed largely through a social and economic history lens.
Whilst offering a unique reference source for anyone interested in the history of a particular country's textile industry, the true strength of this project lies in its capacity of international comparison. By providing global comparative studies of key textile industries and workers, both geographically and thematically, this book provides a comprehensive and contemporary analysis of a major element of the world's economy. This allows historians to challenge many of the received ideas about globalization, for instance, highlighting how global competition for lower production costs is by no means a uniquely modern issue, and has been a feature of textile production for much of the last 350 years. As such this collection will be welcomed by all scholars engaged in the history of the textile industry and international trade.
About the Editors:
Lex Heerma van Voss is a research fellow at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam and holds a chair in the history of labour and labour relations at Utrecht University. He has published on the comparative history of dockworkers and on the history of the North Sea.
Els Hiemstra-Kuperus is responsible for the organization of the bi-annual European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC) at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. She has also contributed to a publication on the image collection of the International Institute of Social History.
Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk wrote her PhD thesis on female textile workers in the early modern Netherlands at the International Institute of Social History. Since then, she has carried out several postdoc projects at Leiden University and the International Institute of Social History. She has published, among other things, on women's and child labour, urban history and business history.