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Child Labour’s Global Past, 1650-2000

Lieten, Kristoffel / Nederveen Meerkerk, Elise van (eds)

Child Labour’s Global Past, 1650-2000

Series: International and Comparative Social History - Volume 13

Year of Publication: 2011

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 714 pp., num. ill., tables and graphs
ISBN 978-3-0343-0517-4 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 1.250 kg, 2.756 lbs

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Book synopsis

Historiography of child labour has often been characterized by strong biases, leading to an overemphasis on the aberrations of factory work as well as to the stereotyping of child work, with industrializing England as the dominant model. This collection of articles offers a global perspective, including both national and comparative case studies which cover all continents and thus overcomes such biases in child labour history. It focuses on various sectors of the economy: industrial work is highlighted and so are the important activities of children in agriculture. Furthermore, Child Labour’s Global Past, 1650-2000 is intended to give a long-term historical perspective, in covering the importance of children’s work in pre-industrial and industrial societies, both in colonial and non- or post-colonial settings.
A long-term global approach to the history of child labour is desirable. As child labour was – and still is – a social phenomenon which can only be properly understood in its historical context, the varying historical experiences over the world can not only enlighten us about the specific function of child labour, but also about its causes, and therewith about possible solutions of child labour today.


Contents: Kristoffel Lieten/Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk: Child Labour’s Global Past, 1650-2000: An Introduction – Jane Humphries: Child Labor: Lessons from the Historical Experience of Today’s Industrial Economies – Hugh Cunningham: Child Labour’s Global Past 1650-2000 – Carolyn Tuttle: Why Do Countries Use Children to Industrialize? – Marjatta Rahikainen: School, Child Labour and Rationalization in Industrializing Europe – Peter Kirby: The Transition to Working Life in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century England and Wales – Colin Heywood: Child Labour and Child Labour Reform in Nineteenth-Century France: An International Perspective – Roland Caty: Nineteenth-Century Child Labour in the Departments of Bouches-du-Rhône and Var – René De Herdt: Child Labour in Belgium 1800-1914 – Éliane Gubin: Elites, Employers, Child Labour and Compulsory Education in Belgium before 1914 – Antonia Pasi: Children in Lombard Industrialization, 1876-1911 – Enriqueta Camps: The Rise and Decline of Children’s Labour Participation Levels During the Early Stages of Industrialization: Catalonia 1850-1925 – Pedro Goulart/Arjun S. Bedi: A History of Child Labour in Portugal – Cor Smit: Child Labour and Industry in the Netherlands, 1600-1910 – Lars Olsson: Industrial Capitalism and Child Labour in Sweden, 1800-1930 – Elisabeth Engberg: Useful and Industrious: Fostering and Rural Child Labour in Nineteenth-Century Sweden – Boris B. Gorshkov: Child Labor in Imperial Russia – Maria Papathanassiou: Child Work and Its Meanings in Rural Europe: Comparisons between Central Europe and the Balkans During the Late Nineteenth and the First Decades of the Twentieth Century – Hugh D. Hindman: Understanding the Persistence of Child Labor in United States Crop Agriculture – Ana Lúcia Kassouf/Marcelo Justus dos Santos: Child Labour in Brazil: More than 500 Years of National Shame – Carlos Edward García Londoño: Child Labour in Medellín at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century – Osamu Saito: Children’s Work, Industrialism, and the Family Economy in Japan, 1872-1926 – Ben White: Labour in Childhood’s Global Past: Child Work and Colonial Policies in Indonesia, 1800-1949 – Joshua H. Howard: A History of Child Labor in China – Beverly Grier: The Globalization of Child Labor in Colonial Zimbabwe – Nick Van Hear: Child Labour and the Development of Capitalist Agriculture in Ghana – Hamilton Sipho Simelane: Landlords, the State, and Child Labor in Colonial Swaziland, 1914-1947 – Karen Tranberg Hansen: Labor Migration and Urban Child Labor During the Colonial Period in Zambia – Bradley Bowden: No Place for Children: The Peculiar Case of Australia, 1850-1919.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Kristoffel Lieten (1946) is Professor of Child Labour Studies at the University of Amsterdam and at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. He is also the Director of the Institute for Research on Working Children (IREWOC) in Leiden, Netherlands.
Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk (1975) studied social and economic history in Utrecht. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the International Institute of Social History. She has published several articles on the history of women’s and children’s work from 1600-1900.


International and Comparative Social History. Vol. 13
Issued by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

General Editor: Marcel van der Linden