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Industrialization, family life, and class relations : Saint Chamond, 1815-1914 /
Elinor Accampo.
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1989.
xvii, 301 p., [14] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
0520060954 (alk. paper)
More Details
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1989.
0520060954 (alk. paper)
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. 279-293.
A Look Inside
Flap Copy
"One of the most original and exciting studies in nineteenth-century French working-class history that I have read in years. Accampo's scholarship is breathtaking, and her grasp, incorporation, and criticism of relevant secondary literature is faultless."--Christopher Johnson, Wayne State University "[Accampo's] analysis and interpretations of quantitative material are sophisticated and convincing. Students of social history, labor history, modern France, and women's history will welcome this book."--Lenard R. Berlanstein, University of Virginia
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1990-02:
Accampo looks closely at the relationship between structures of work and family formation in a 19th-century French industrial town. She applies the method of family reconstitution and the sampling of data from marriage contracts commonly used in the study of the ancien regime to the post-Revolutionary era, when proletarian families adjusted to the challenge of modern mechanization. Accampo interprets demographic data clearly, and suggests that workers reduced fertility for reasons that varied by occupation and the familial role in the labor force. Her comparison of marriage contracts from the periods 1816-1825 and 1861-1870 reveals a fall in occupational inheritance that implies a decline in paternal authority, thus creating a situation in which industrialists effectively employed paternalist strategies toward workers. Accampo demonstrates how employers were not classical liberals but conservative believers in a certain brand of charity. Her discussion of the culture of Saint Chamond explains the success of Social Catholicism and the relative weakness of working-class socialism. Her handling of quantitative and qualitative sources is impressive, her writing elegant. Essential for college and university libraries. -D. G. Troyansky, Texas Tech University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 1990
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Long Description
In this provocative study, Elinor Accampo explores the interrelationship between the structure of work and strategies of family formation in Saint Chamond, a French city that underwent intensive industrialization during the nineteenth century. Through a detailed analysis of fertility, mortality, marriages, and migration, the author analyzes the ways in which the family responded to changes in the organization of work. In the first half of the nineteenth century work was in the home, and families tended to be large in order to meet the demand for workers. But by the 1860s the mechanization of labor had begun to separate family life and work life, fundamentally transforming the relationship between work and family and making the survival of the working-class family more difficult. Accampo argues that workers began to have smaller families much earlier than has previously been suggested, and she demonstrates that fertility declined for reasons unique to working-class conditions. This decline in family size, and the context in which it took place, provides fascinating new material for understanding the working class world and the dynamics of class relations.

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