Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Infrastructures of Injury: Railway Accidents and the Remaking of Class and Gender in Mid-Nineteenth Century Britain
by Armstrong-Price, Amanda, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2015, 196; 10086071
Abstract (Summary)

As steam-powered industrialization intensified in mid-nineteenth century Britain, the rate and severity of workplace injuries spiked. At the same time, a range of historical dynamics made working class people individually responsible for bearing the effects of industrial injury and carrying on in the aftermath of accidents without support from state or company. By the midcentury, railway accidents were represented as events that put on display the moral character of individual rail workers and widows, rather than — as in radical rhetorics of previous decades — the rottenness of state or company bureaucracies. Bearing injury or loss in a reserved manner came to appear as a sign of domestic virtue for working class women and men, though the proper manifestations of this idealized resilience varied by gender. Focusing on dynamics in the railway and nursing sectors, and in the sphere of reproduction, Infrastructures of Injury shows how variously situated working class subjects responded to their conditions of vulnerability over the second half of the nineteenth century. These responses ranged from individualized or family-based self-help initiatives to — beginning in the 1870s — strikes, unionization drives, and the looting of company property. Ultimately, this dissertation tells a story about how working class cultural and political practices were remade through the experience of injury and loss.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vernon, James, Wintroub, Michael
Commitee: Butler, Judith, Naddaff, Ramona
School: University of California, Berkeley
Department: Rhetoric
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: European history, British and Irish literature, Rhetoric
Keywords: Gender, Industrial injury, Labor, Nursing, Technology
Publication Number: 10086071
ISBN: 978-1-339-59204-6
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