Critcal Review: What Contribution Do the Papers by Peter Earle and Elise Van Nederveen Meerkerk Make to the Historical Debate About Women’s Role in the Pre-Industrial European Labour Market?

1156 Words Feb 6th, 2013 5 Pages
In this critical review I will compare the two texts by Peter Earle and Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk. The articles are about woman’s work in the 17th and early 18th century respectively about women’s work in the Dutch textile industry and female labour marked in London. The article by Earle (in 1989) is released before Meerkerk’s article (2006) and there are in Meerkerk analysis some pointing to Earle’s article.

I will start with a short presentation of each of the two articles, how and from what time data is collected, some of the findings and conclusion. And then what contribution their papers have made to the historical debate about women’s role in the pre-industrial labour market.

Both Earle and Meerkerk refer to Alice
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Katrina Honeyman and Jordan Goodman used this when they where looking at European women’s work between1500 – 1900[5].

Peter Earle is more or less guided by his sources. He goes thru his sources and construct figures [6] from his sources. He also takes other sources from other historians such as Wrigley and Schofield [7]. And this is what he is basing his conclusion on.

Meerkerk on the other hand developed a frame work, she had an idea before she starting on the research. The idea is that of how to analyze her data. Based upon works from many social scientists and historians and their findings, she found that ”we must therefore derive a new theoretical framework to explain the working of gender in the pre-industrial labour marked” [8]. On this background she analysed the data. Her work became a supplement to understand the segmentation of the labour market. Meerkerk wanted to know who got the core jobs, who got the peripheral jobs and why men tends to earn more than women even if they are doing the same work. Core jobs are higher paid and productivity while peripheral jobs is lower paid and lower productivity.

Peter Earle has data from witnesses and defendants in the time period of approximately 1660 – 1725. Earle have an impressive material from whole London divided by districts, occupations, full-time and part-time, women and men and their age. He also has data from which class the citizens are from, if they are upper class or lower class