Women on the Line

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Women on the Line is a pioneering ethnographic classic of the world of work in a British motor components factory. Miriam Glucksmann (aka Ruth Cavendish), a well-known contributor to the study of gender, work and employment, is for the first time revealed as the author, along with the identity of the company, product and factory.

Recording the experience of migrant women from Ireland, the Caribbean, and the Indian subcontinent with the immediacy of a diary, this is a unique account from an observing participant of the daily routines of repetitive work, a strike led by women from below, and the temporalities of work, home, children and leisure. Glucksmann's vivid narrative of life on the assembly line is combined with an analysis of the intersections of gender, ethnicity and class that prefigures subsequent theoretical advances.

This edition contains a new introduction situating the book in contemporary debates and developments and includes original photographs taken on the shop floor at the time.


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Chapter One A factory job
Chapter Two The company
Chapter Three Jobs on the line
Chapter Four Getting to know the women
Chapter Five The division of labour
Chapter Six The dictatorship of production
Chapter Seven Bonus and wages
Chapter Eight The union and the dispute
Chapter Nine What to make of it?

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About the author (2009)

Miriam Glucksmann is Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex. She has made a major contribution to the understanding of work, employment and gender, and the connections between different forms of labour. Women on the Line was her first research-based book in this area, followed by Women Assemble (1990), Cottons and Casuals (2000), and the jointly-edited A New Sociology of Work? (2005). She has held many research fellowships and visiting professorships at home and abroad, and is a Fellow of the British Academy. As an ESRC Professorial Fellow she recently completed a three year research programme on 'Transformations of Work: New Frontiers, Shifting Boundaries, Changing Temporalities'.

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