Four book reviews (in German and English)
Ben Jackson. Equality and the British Left: A Study in Progressive Political Thought, 1900-64. Critical Labour Movement Studies Series. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007. xi + 259 pp. Notes, bibliography, index. $74.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7190-7306-9.
Reviewed for H-Albion by Antoine Capet, Department of British Studies, University of Rouen, France
We Know Not How to Reach Equality
Equality and the British Left is not an easy book to read. Not that it is badly written: the author does his best to introduce clarity in a subject whose complexity is immediately apparent to anybody who has ever taken an interest in the Left. Circumscribing the theme to the British Left unfortunately does not make it any less complex, as the Left in that country encapsulates and epitomizes all the contradictions which make it so repulsive to some people--and so attractive to others. Jackson evidently numbers among the latter, ending his book on an impassioned plea in favor of continued egalitarianism, even though he commendably tries to maintain an attitude of scholarly neutrality in his description of the debate. A book written by an avowed opponent of the British Left would be of no interest: the author would "demonstrate" that in practice "equality" rings hollow in the vocabulary of the Left, that it is only a bogus catch-word to deceive the gullible populace in order to win elections--and that is that. But Jackson's self-assigned task is to study the dialectical contradictions (to use a phrase beloved of the continental Left) between theoretical considerations and perceived actual practice the better to show how the British Left has tried to surmount them, and this is an extremely arduous one.
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Lauschke, Karl: Die halbe Macht. Mitbestimmung in der Eisen- und Stahlindustrie 1945 bis 1989. Essen: Klartext Verlag 2007. ISBN 978-3-89861-729-1; 358 S.; EUR 24,95.
Rezensiert für H-Soz-u-Kult von:
Harald Stöger, Institut für Gesellschafts- und Sozialpolitik, Johannes-Kepler-Universität Linz
Mit der Studie "Die halbe Macht" legt Karl Lauschke eine umfangreiche empirische Aufarbeitung von Genese und Wandel der Institution der Montanmitbestimmung in Unternehmen der deutschen Eisen- und Stahlindustrie zwischen den 1940er- und den späten 1980er-Jahren vor.
Die Montanmitbestimmung, in deren Geltungsbereich neben der Stahlindustrie auch der Bergbau fiel, sollte durch weitreichende Beteiligung von Arbeitnehmervertretern an der Unternehmenssteuerung zur "Demokratisierung" eines ökonomisch und politisch hochsensiblen Industriesektors beitragen. Zentrale Charakteristika der Montanmitbestimmung waren ein mit Arbeitnehmer- und Arbeitgebervertretern paritätisch besetzter Aufsichtsrat und die neu geschaffene Funktion des Arbeitsdirektors als gleichberechtigtes Vorstandsmitglied neben technischem und kaufmännischem Vorstand.
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Katrina Honeyman, Child Workers in England, 1780-1820: Parish Apprentices and the Making of the Early Industrial Labour Force. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. xiii + 340 pp. $100/£60 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-0-7546-6272-3.
Reviewed for EH.NET by Pamela Sharpe, School of History and Classics, University of Tasmania
Child laborers are the iconic figures of the evils of Industrial Revolution. The purpose of this book -- by one of economic history's most seasoned practitioners -- is to unveil the real story. Despite the broad main title, the subjects of the book are not all child workers but those children who went to work in mills and factories under schemes developed by their local parishes. Effectively this was an extension of the pauper apprenticeship scheme that, by 1780, when Honeyman's story starts, had been operating for well over two hundred years. It had placed many tens of thousands of English children into the homes of their more wealthy counterparts where they were given some training (although often we cannot be sure what this amounted to beyond the menial aspects of husbandry or housewifery), promised some clothing and given a roof over their heads until their indentures expired.
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Hartmut Kaelble. Sozialgeschichte Europas: 1945 bis zur Gegenwart. Munich C.H. Beck Verlag, 2007. 437 pp. EUR 34.90 (cloth), ISBN 978-3-406-54984-7.
Reviewed by Christina Morina
Published on H-German (November, 2008)
Commissioned by Susan R. Boettcher
A Truly European Social History
Hartmut Kaelble's most recent work is truly European and more than "just" a social history of the continent since 1945. It offers the reader a comprehensive overview of the social, economic, cultural, and societal developments within the various European countries since World War II. It also provides a transnational and comparative perspective, since the main questions Kaelble pursues throughout the thirteen chapters of his volume deal with "divergences" and "convergences" between the various European countries and regions, as well as with "European peculiarities" in comparison with other parts of the world. It is particularly noteworthy that Kaelble manages to include the countries of the former Soviet sphere of influence in his analysis even if--as he points out several times--much research remains to be done on the social history of eastern and southeastern Europe during the Cold War years. While the internal structure of each chapter is chronological, following roughly four time periods (the postwar years, the 1950s-60s, the 1970s-80s, and the post-1989/90 era), the overall organization of the book is thematic.
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