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'His footmarks on her shoulders': the place of women within poultry keeping in the British countryside, c.1880 to c.1980

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The exact nature and extent of women's involvement in agriculture, at all levels, but especially on family farms, has remained largely hidden in the numerical data relating to the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This is especially true of a quintessentially female activity, poultry keeping. To focus entirely on the large-scale intensive producer, and adhere to the narrative of change laid down by the industry, is to obscure the continuities that have existed and still exist within that industry. Specialist publications and the farming press, ranging from the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through to the late 1970s, are therefore used to assess the possible shifts in the long-standing association between women and poultry keeping. It is suggested that this association was strong enough for women's involvement to continue at all levels into the post-war period, if not beyond. It appears that women remained involved as producers, as well as labourers, especially on smaller-scale and within family-run enterprises, which themselves survived longer than we might expect.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Agricultural History Review is the leading journal for the publication of original research in all aspects of agricultural and rural history. First published in 1953, the Review reflects the diversity of approaches which are possible in rural history. Its editors welcome submissions in any aspect of the history of agriculture, rural society and rural economy over the past millennium. Whilst it is not concerned with current policy debates, it is interested in considering discussions of the historical dimensions of current problems in rural society and food supply. The Review is especially strong in British rural history, but actively seeks submissions in European and American rural history and has no bar on submissions concerning the remainder of the world. It is also the journal of record for book reviews in the discipline.

    Agricultural History Review has an international editorial board. The current editors are Professor P. S. Warde, University of Cambridge, UK, who is responsible for articles, and Dr J. R. Morgan, University of Bristol, UK, who serves as editor for book reviews. The Review is fully peer-refereed.

    Agricultural History Review is published by the British Agricultural History Society from whom personal subscriptions may be obtained.
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