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Gender, Work, and Culture: Why the Industrial Revolution Came Early to England but Late to China

Jack A. Goldstone
Sociological Perspectives
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Spring, 1996), pp. 1-21
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.2307/1389340
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1389340
Page Count: 21
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Gender, Work, and Culture: Why the Industrial Revolution Came Early to England but Late to China
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Abstract

Neither technical inability nor population/resource imbalances prevented China from developing mechanized cotton-spinning. However, restrictions on the deployment of female labor outside the home, promulgated by Confucian ethics and enforced by the state as part of social control, prevented widespread adoption of machinery requiring extra-household use of female labor. Under such conditions--which did not obtain in Europe, where female wage labor had long been used for service outside of natal households--factory production could not compete with household production.

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