Paul Sutton

'To fulfil their tasks, or even to state them well, social scientists must use the materials of history' (C.W Mills The Sociological Imagination 1970)

'...historiography itself is fiction for it results from a selection of facts coherently organised, leaving forgotten or committing to oblivion many other facts which, had they been taken into consideration, would have given a different shape to the same history' (Preface to Saramago's The History of the Siege of Lisbon 1996).

Introduction: standing at the intersection reading history sociologically.

As C.W. Mills (1970: 159) argues, the sociological imagination explores the problem of history and its 'intersection' within social structures. To stand at this intersection and endeavour to read history sociologically is a difficult task. Through a sociological re-reading of the historian John Rule's (1987) seminal essay `The property of skill in the age of manufacture' I will attempt to give a 'different shape' to the materials of history. The concept of the `property in skill' has become common currency in historical discourse (1) and though useful also limits the sociological imagination. My aim, then, is to make a different 'selection of facts', to organise and use them in a specifically sociological fashion in order to explore the intersection of history and social structure. Using an unashamedly idiosyncratic reading of Foucault's Archaeology of Knowledge I will show that using the concept `skill' to describe the form of property artisans claimed they possessed in their labour is not necessarily the only, nor necessarily the most fruitful, conceptualisation.

Reading History Theoretically

I intend to sociologically re-shape the historiography of artisanal discourse through the 'beneficence' of a theoretical synthesis of critical realist and Foucaultian theory which will allow me to 'see' (Woodiwiss 1990a: 5), artisanal discourse in a different way. By critical realism I mean an ontological and epistemological approach which assumes that it is possible to produce transitive knowledge of the intransitive real structures or generative mechanisms which constitute social reality. However, such an approach also assumes that it is impossible to guarantee finally the truth claims of such knowledge as anything other than transitory. All knowledge is constituted through particular descriptions, which are always `to a greater or lesser extent theoretically determined' and which are `not neutral reflections of a given world' (Bhaskar 1978 cited by Outhwaite 1987:39). It is the transitive nature of historiographical discourse which makes them a 'fiction'.

From Foucault I take a concept of discourse as a form of social practice, language and language like, which is both constituted by and constitutes social reality. Discourses emerge from `discursive formations' (Foucault 1972) which are theorised as real, that is, as existing outside of any thought about or knowledge of them. Social-historical reality is knowable, nonetheless, through theoretically generated descriptions which are `made to refer', or are accepted as referring to, social reality (Woodiwiss 1990a: 5). This ontological assumption distinguishes critical realism from the anti-realism or anti-foundationalism of post-modernist theorists (2).

Using Foucault in a realist fashion I theorise discursive formations as the socio-historically specific conditions which make it possible for discourses to emerge. Such conditions have both discursive and non-discursive dimensions. The discursive dimensions consist of configurations of linguistic concepts, strategies and usages, often taken for granted, which make it possible to legitimately say and think certain things but not others. The non-discursive dimensions of discursive formations consist of institutions, and spatial contexts which also enable and constrain thought, speech, writing and social interaction. Discursive formations, then, are specific configurations of discursive and non-discursive conditions which together constitute social structures, which together make it possible or impossible to think, speak or act in particular ways.

For me, reading history sociologically requires the use of social theory. Using theory enables the exploration of the intersection of history and social structures (discursive formations). It makes possible a different fictioning of the history of eighteenth century artisan labour in which the concept of skill is not synonymous with the concept of a `property in the trade'. The concept of 'property in the trade' can be fruitfully made to refer to the way in which eighteenth century artisan's viewed themselves and their work. Property in the trade denotes the trade as property, but as property conceived as a use right: a constellation of certain rights, privileges, and duties (Hohfeld 1919) owned by the individual artisan by virtue of having served an apprenticeship and/or by being a member of a reputable trade society. What made it possible for artisans to think of their trade in this way was the configuration of non-discursive and discursive conditions or social structures which formed late eighteenth and early nineteenth century small commodity production.

The Structure of Small Commodity Production: Skill, Wages and Labour Power.

In England during the period 1750-1825 manufacturing activity took place predominantly in small workshops, using hand technology (Prothero 1979:24). Most trades were not highly mechanised, but in some trades, such as clock making, there was an elaborate division of labour. As Rule argues, the burgeoning market for ready made rather than bespoke consumer goods, and the practices of `monopolistic middlemen' who were not `masters' of a trade and who considered the customary relations of production inconvenient and unprofitable, were transforming the organisation of production (Rule 1985: 50,24).

For example, in the tailoring, shoemaking and cabinet making trades production was re-oriented toward standardised consumer goods, and in the building trades through general contracting the autonomy of the artisan became eroded. This uneven process of trade reorganisation engendered several hybrid forms of production which combined elements of classic small commodity production oriented toward the bespoke market, with elements of emergent petty-capitalist production oriented toward the mass market. The specific form such production took largely depended upon the nature of the trade involved which in turn was determined by the materials, tools and production techniques used. Within these diverse forms of production, engendered by the transformation of the relations of ownership and control of the means of production, journeymen and small masters continued to articulate a discourse which emerged from the social relations they believed prevailed within earlier forms of small commodity production (Woodiwiss 1990b).

That such a discourse may have been founded upon a nostalgic and indeed `phantasmatic representation' (Foucault 1972:68) of the past in no way precluded artisans from continuing to insist that the arts and mysteries of the trade were used to the mutual benefit of both master and journeyman. The social relations of production were not thought of as based upon a` property in skill' but rather upon the conception of the arts and mysteries of the trade as a form of corporate property which entailed specific rights and duties.


In eighteenth century artisanal discourse the term 'skill' does not seem to have been widely used. Artisans described their labour as their art, mystery, ability or simply as their trade (3). The art, mystery or trade was the property of an individual artisan by virtue of acquiring trade knowledge and ability through having been `brought up in' or `bred to the trade', that is, ideally serving an apprenticeship or its equivalent or in reality being a member of a reputable trade body or society. Being `bred to the trade' entitled individual artisans to `use' a particular trade, that is, claim exclusive use rights of the `property in the trade', however, the property belonged to the trade body as a whole. An artisan therefore could claim use rights of a trade but only in so far as he was an acknowledged member of a trade body as use rights were the common property of particular trade bodies in particular locales. The trade body was the condition of the possibility and existence of this property. The individual and the corporate dimensions of the trade as a property were therefore inseparable.

'Skill' then may be too individualistic a concept to describe the form of property artisans claimed they possessed in their labour (4). This concept emerged from a series of different social structures which emerged and displaced those which made possible the concept of property in the trade. Indeed, skill may be more profitably seen as emerging from the configuration of discursive and non-discursive conditions prevailing later in the nineteenth century when the re-organisation of the handicraft trades - the detailed division of labour, direct rather than indirect control over the labour process by employers, particularly the increasing number who were `adventurers not bred to the trade' - had operated to make the social relations which formed the framework of hybrid small commodity production untenable.


A more fruitful conception of property in artisanal discourse can be created through linking Marx's concept of labour power and the specificities of the labour process within eighteenth century hybrid small commodity production. Certainly, many artisans in eighteenth century England no longer made an entire product - be it a shoe, a jacket or a watch - neither did they sell that product directly to the consumer. But neither did they simply sell their labour power for a `wage'(5). They were not therefore simply `wage earning craft workers" (Rule 1987:104). Although the term `wage' was used in the eighteenth century, it was used in diverse and changing ways but within a particular chains of signifiers which endowed it with a meaning which was different from that which it was later to acquire (6). At this time the relations of small commodity production were articulated in artisanal discourse not as wage relations, but as relations wherein labour was exchanged for a `fair' `rate' or `price'. This involved more than a money wage. It was related to the cost of `the Necessaries of Life', local customary standards of payment and notions of justice and equity. Furthermore, integral to the rate or price were certain rights and liberties; it entitled artisans to an independence within the labour process, that is, to work at their own pace without external supervision, and it entitled artisans to receive the respect and prestige due to independent producers (Hobsbawm 1968:348).

The small workshops of eighteenth century England were an important `surface of emergence' (Foucault 1972:41) of artisanal discourse. In these workshops the social relations of production which both enabled and constrained both journeymen and masters were hierarchical, but were not simply wage relations. As suggested above, artisans claimed the fair rate or price for the work done which was circumscribed by a constellation of rights and privileges which applied differentially to both master and man. Even though these rights had been progressively whittled away in the eighteenth century artisans continued to articulate their position within the idiom of rights. Artisans who had been `bred to the trade', provided disciplined labour, and thereby had certain `claims' vis-à-vis those who employed their services. These included the right to enforce a `legal' term of seven years on all apprentices so that every journeymen would become a `Legal' or `regular-bred Artisan'; the privilege to limit the number of apprentices bound at any one time so that the trade would not become overstocked and therefore the price of their labour was kept high; the claim that the property in the trade could be transferred to sons or near relatives as an inheritance, that is, the `power' to transfer the patrimony of apprenticeship; the `liberty' to exercise control over the speed and rhythm of working practices; the `privilege' of regulating the quality of their manufactures by customary standards not those imposed from without; the privilege of withdrawing their labour if customary rates and working conditions were not honoured; and the power to prosecute `illegal' masters who did not posses the property in the trade and therefore had no right to exercise it. Correlatively it was the artisans' duty to assist in the training of apprentices, to ensure work was completed in the agreed time and to the agreed standard (Broadside 20.31, 1813; Broadside 20.32, 1814).

In sum, in the organisation of the labour process within the workshop enabled artisans to think and act as if the trade had a constellation of corporate rights, powers, privileges and duties. Different trades were able to place greater or lesser emphasis on different aspects of this constellation of overlapping and mutually reinforcing rights depending upon the local conditions and problems that confronted them (7).

Labour Power

As I have suggested the term `wage' was generated by later forms of capitalist discursive and non-discursive practices, and connotes a market in labour power. In eighteenth century England handicraft trades remained, to a large extent, structured by the relations of hybrid small commodity production in which a service rather than labour power was exchanged. In Rule's historiography the complex conditions constituting the exchange of artisanal labour in the various forms of small commodity production are not firmly distinguished from the conditions necessary for the existence of labour power. Labour power is labour expended `in the interest of and under the direction of the purchaser, in exchange for a sum of money, the wage' (Bottomore 1988:265). Artisanal labour, however, was exchanged upon the condition that artisans had a right to direct the labour process and that their labour was expended in the mutual interest of both master and journeyman. Furthermore, it was exchanged upon the expectation that employing masters had a patriarchal duty to keep their journeymen in work when trade was slow rather than `turning them off' when expedient (8). The concept of labour power also presupposes that the individual seller is free to dispose of their labour without constraint and free from the ownership of, or access to, the means of production.

Labour power therefore refers to conditions of production in which `all limitations on the right of people to dispose of their own labour power in exchange' have been dissolved and in which labourers have become separated from the means of production, `so that they cannot produce and sell the product of their labour' but must sell their labour power (Bottomore 1988:266). Eighteenth century hybrid small commodity production was not free from such limitations. Constraints existed, for example, in the Statute of Artificers and in local bye-laws and in the customs and usages of the trade. The means of production were also accessible to artisans through the ownership of tools and the exercise of certain rights and duties concerning the materials used in the production process (9).

As Marx suggests in the Grundrisse, in hybrid small commodity production there exists an `artisan-like' social division of labour in which the labourer no longer makes and sells an entire commodity. In this form of production the labourer, nonetheless, owns both the instruments and the ability to manipulate those instruments, with which commodities are made. The raw materials used in the production process, therefore, are `mediated as the craftsman's' property, mediated through his craft work, through his property in the instrument' (Marx 1973:499). Property in the instrument gives the labourer-owner an `independence' residing in the `identity between the property in the instrument and property in the conditions of production' (Marx 1973:500). Property in the trade was framed by rights and obligations. It could not be alienated as labour power.

Eighteenth century artisans were "interpellated" (Althusser 1971) by a discourse in which the labourer's property in the trade involved a property in the production process. The employer did not purchase labour power. Artisans, therefore, sold a service under determinate conditions, not their generalised capacity to labour. The formal subjection of artisans had not yet become real subjection; capital had not yet taken up the position of dominant `authority of delimitation' (Foucault 1972:41-2) in the labour process, had not yet redefined the corporate property in the trade as a more individualised and restricted property in skill. That authority had yet to become institutionalised in a specifically capitalist mode of production in which the `formal subjection' had been replaced by the `real subjection of labour to capital' (Marx 1946:518).

Formal and Real Subjection of Labour

Stedman Jones (1983:12) is undoubtedly right to assert that this distinction between the real and formal subjection of labour is of especial pertinence in the comprehension of the labour process in the period 1790-1850. However, my social-historical analysis of the concept of property in the trade leads me to entertain certain reservations concerning the assertion that prior to 1850 industrial conflict was `not about ownership but about control' (Steadman-Jones 1983:13). In the uneven, piecemeal series of trade specific conflicts over the position of the artisan within the labour process in the eighteenth century (Dobson 1980), industrial conflict, particularly as manifested in the discursive dimension of sociality, can plausibly be seen as concerning relations of possession not of control of the means of production.

Perhaps this can best be clarified by the explication of the `sociological typology of ownership' developed by K. Jones (1982). Jones (1982:76-78) argues that the concept of ownership is comprised of the articulation of three elements; possession, control and title. Relations of possession refer to `the strategies and calculations' which constitute `the use, or actual operation' of the production process regardless of who is the actual `agent of possession'. Whereas control refers to `the power of disposal of the means of production'. Finally, title refers to those relations which govern finance, debt and share holding.

Locating `property in the trade' within this sociological typology allows one to see eighteenth century artisans not as concerned with securing a general power of control over the means of production or wider economic relations of title, but rather with power over its `specific direction'. That is, antithetical relations of `actual possession' were claimed both by artisans and employers (Jones 1982:77). If, as Stedman Jones (1983:22, 101) argues, the language borne discursive dimension of sociality regulates the way in which interests and experiences are formed then artisans were discursively interpellated in such a way that trade disputes were experienced as concerning their actual ownership of the means of production, that is, artisans' possession of the right to direct the production process by virtue of their corporate ownership of property in the trade. The conception of the trade as a form of corporate property enabled artisans to attempt to resist the `New Discipline' (Hammonds 1966:30-47): that disciplinary system emerging, in part, from particular readings of texts such as Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776) (10).

Eventually the corporate conception of the property in the trade, with its object of the restitution of the old discipline of small commodity production, would be displaced by the concept of skill in the discourse of trade unionism, which had the object of limiting the power effects of the new discipline of the capitalist mode of production. Artisanal discourse of the eighteenth century, however, can be seen as continuing to be shaped by the concept of the property in the trade and its rights, privileges and liberties. In such discourse the right to the ownership of the commodities produced was not claimed, rather artisans claimed a right to a `proper subsistence' and the right to direct the production process.

Artisans were not therefore completely separated from the means of production, not yet completely alienated from their creative powers. For although the technical ability possessed by some artisans in the common trades, such as tailoring and shoemaking, may have been relatively modest, the discourse of the trade interpellated tailors and shoemakers as independent producers, as owners of a very real property in their labour. Possession of this property defined the boundary between the `respectable artisan' and the casual worker, general labourer and especially the `foreigner, that is, any one not `bred to the trade' or belonging to a local trade body. Indeed many artisans positioned themselves alongside shopkeepers, dealers and professional men rather than the bulk of the labouring poor (Prothero 1979:26).

Although, as Rule argues, artisans did not conceive skill as an individual property right but as a collective right, his usage of the concepts of skill and labour power gives a particular shape to artisanal history. Such concepts can be made to refer more fruitfully to the mode of production which emerged in England at a later time. Indeed, the historical materials used by Rule to substantiate his conception of skill as a form of property can be re-used in order to give a different shape to the same history

Re-Reading Historical Documents

Following Foucault's (1972:7) injunction I have re-read the historical `documents' cited by Rule and tried to re-shape them into `monuments' to the past. That is, I have tried to re-read these historical monuments in a sociological way which fictions a different meaning and which elucidates the social structures which were the condition of their emergence. To substantiate the claim that artisans thought of their skill as a form of property Rule (1987:105) cites some text from the artisanal journal The Gorgon. The text is from an article concerning the London printers dispute of 1818. This dispute was about the increasing number of apprentices taken on by employers. The printers considered that employers were transgressing their right to limit the number of apprentices so that the trade would not become `overstocked`. This article articulates the printers' claim that ... every workman who has served an apprenticeship of seven years, and who, of course during that time has never received the full remuneration for his labour, has acquired a property in his trade, for which he has paid the full price; ... (The Gorgon Nov. 28th 1818:221, emphasis added) (11).

Regulating the number of apprentices was a right bequeathed by the corporate possession of the `property in the trade' which the printers believed gave them control over this dimension of the production process. The printers were not going to submit to the reduction of the `value of this property' through the transgression of this dimension of their exclusive use rights. Rule (1987:105-6) also cites text from the `Report from the Committee on the Petitions of Watchmakers of Coventry & C.' of 1817 in which the watchmakers describe their various `arts and trade' as a `property'. The Report investigated the great distress in the watch making trade in London and Coventry caused by the commercial slump of 1817 and the "Coventry system" of taking on numerous apprentices which were improperly trained. The watchmakers claimed that: By the laws and institution of apprenticeship, the regular bred artisan, whether master or servant, that acquired a property in and lawfully become possessed of and rightly entitled unto the exclusive use of the several arts, manufactures or trades, to which they have been apprenticed or brought up respectively... (`Report From the Committee on the Petitions of the Watchmakers of Coventry & C.', 1817, British Sessional Papers Vol.VI: 333 emphasis added - subsequently referred to as Report)(12). Employers were flagrantly transgressing the artisan's rights, yet the `regular bred artisan' was not receiving `the substantial protection of the legislature' that their property, like that of the `possessors of any other descriptions of property' entitled them to. It is significant that the artisans refer to their property in `exclusive use' rights of their arts or trades not their property in watch making skills.

The third text deployed by Rule is from a letter drafted in 1823 by the Manchester hand loom weavers which states: The Weaver's Qualifications may be considered as his property and support. It is as real property to him as Buildings and Lands are to others. Like them his qualification cost time, application and Money. There is no point of view (except visible and tangible) wherein they differ. And when Buildings are removed, or Land engrossed for Roads, Streets and Canals, the proprietors are paid for them. Then, if two dependencies, of exactly equal value to the proprietors are sacrificed for convenience; does not equity require, that while one is remunerated, the other ought not to be totally neglected? (Public Records Office (subsequently PRO) H.0. 40. 18:3. Letter from the Committee of the Manchester Weavers) . The letter, from which this text is extracted, was written in response to employers lowering the price of the hand-weavers' labour, ostensibly to make English cloth more competitive in foreign markets (13).

This text is significant as it explicitly articulates, through a succession of concepts - qualifications, property and equity - that the qualification of the artisan, the ability to perform a trade, was a real form of property, and that the reorganisation of small commodity production was robbing the weavers of this corporate property, rendering them unable to support themselves and their families. Such a transformation of the labour process threatened to emasculate the weaver by placing him `entirely in the power of his Employer' (PRO. H.0. 40. 18:1). To the weavers their `Qualifications' were a real form of property which had rights extending beyond the labour process which the employer had a duty to respect. The concept of `Qualifications' in this text is in no way synonymous with the concept of skill. Thus the printers, clock makers and weavers were interpellated by a discourse of common use rights. They claimed an exclusive and inalienable right to use their trade. The trade, it would seem, was not so much a skill but a collective use right, a corporate property with a constellation of rights and privileges which extended beyond the point of production.


As Rule (1987:104) argues, understanding the way in which artisans' conceived their `hidden form of property' is difficult because until the end of the eighteenth century their concepts were largely assumed and unarticulated remaining `implicit' in the ownership of particular tools, collective forms of association, customary practices, and in attitudes toward `foreigners'. Yet, as I have argued, an explicit theorisation of the intersection of history and social structure makes it possible to re-think the ways in which eighteenth century artisans thought about their trade as a form of corporate property.

The process of re-thinking was achieved making the synthesis of critical realist, Foucaultian and Marxian theory refer to extra-theoretical reality. This has enabled me to re-read historical documents referring to eighteenth century small commodity production as discourses with historically specific conditions of existence. Conceptualising historical documents as a set of discourses, which emerge from particular social structures or discursive formations which possess both discursive and non-discursive dimensions, I have attempted to re-shape John Rule's essay in labour history in such a way that `the trade' is seen as a form of corporate property within artisanal discourse.

How common this distinctive rhetoric of the property in the trade was within eighteenth century English artisanal discourse is of course problematic. The signifier 'artisan' referred to a small minority of eighteenth century workers, mostly urban and male and different trades had different commitment to and power to use the discourse concerning the property in the trade. Standing at the intersection of history and social structure is a difficult and speculative intellectual exercise yet it is, nonetheless both a necessary and a fruitful one.


(1) On the `currency' of concepts within historical discourses see G. Wickham (1990) `The Currency of History for Sociology' in S. Kendrich et al. (2) Whilst I acknowledge the veracity of the statement that the term post-modernism encompasses `an incredibly heterogeneous range of contemporary movements and manifestations, phenomena extremely difficult to bring under a single head' (Eley & Nield 1995:363), I think it fair to say that all post-modernisms in some way encompass an anti-foundationalism and are therefore variants of idealism and relativism. Whilst I agree with Curry (1993), that caricaturing those adopting a post-modernist position as crude idealists and relativists is unhelpful, postmodernisms, however nuanced, are inescapably idealist and relativist.
(3) In Samuel Johnson A Dictionary of the English Language Vols.I & II (1785, 6th edition unpaginated) there is no entry for the term skill. However, the text uses the term in the definition of Art: `Artfulness; skill; dexterity'. Art is also defined as `The power of doing something not taught by nature and instinct' and as simply `A trade'. Mystery is defined as `A trade; a calling'. Significantly the term Breed is defined as `To educate; to form by education' and Breeding as `qualifications', `manners' and `knowledge of ceremony'. Johnson was not unfamiliar with trade and tradesmen as Mathias (1979:295-317) demonstrates.
(4) An alternative critique of the idea of artisanal skill can be found in Ranciere (1983) and Sonenscher (1989). These authors argue that artisanal trade skills were often both limited and similar and that artisans mystified their work as a strategy designed to exclude other workers. See also C. Behagg (1990:124-5), who argues that English artisans, particularly between 1820-30, `consciously fostered' the `impenetrability of the workplace' in order to exclude all outsiders from gaining any control over their culture.
(5) CF Sonenscher(1989:23) on the `bewildering variety' of ways in which the French artisans of the glazing trade were paid: `... by the day, the month, with meals or without meals, by the piece, or by combinations of all these modes of payment.'
(6) Even if such independence was often phantasmatic it was, nevertheless, a `formative element' (Foucault 1972: 68) of the discourse of the trade. On artisanal `fantasies of independence ' see Joyce (1994:32).
(7) Artisans also believed that their rights were guarantied by custom enshrined in common law, and in the case of apprenticeship by the statute law of 5 Elizabeth c.4, the Statute of Artificers of 1653 see Derry (1931).
(8) With reference to West Riding wool manufacture in the eighteenth century Smail, (1987: 54) described the position of the artisan within the labour process as one in which he `worked with, not for, his master' and in which `during slack times he was likely to be kept on for as long as the master could manage.' Smail (1987:54) calls this `the artisanal wage relationship'. This is, however, a misleading description. A. Randall, (1992) quite correctly criticises Smail's simplistic operationalisation of the concept of discourse. Smail unfortunately fails to deploy the kind of rigorous and nuanced concept of discourse which Foucault's work displays. However, Randall's criticism is ultimately marred by reductionism. Randall (1990:204) asserts that discourse arises `directly out of a real economic system'. Although related to the economic and political dimensions, the discursive dimension of sociality is, I would argue, a relatively autonomous dimension of sociality. This dimension is equally real but has an indirect relationship of polymorphous correlation to the economic system.
(9) For example, in the tailoring trade journeymen claimed the right to dispose of off-cuts of cloth `cabbage' but often had a duty to provide the `trimmings' - buttons, braid etc., in the production of garments. Cabbage also became `...a synonym for the craftsman's income' (Linebaugh 1991: 245-6). The publication of printed patterns for cutting cloth and precise directions for their use reduced the possibilities for appropriating waste (Linebaugh 1991:439.
(10) On the `openness' of Smith's texts see Brown (1994:54) who issues a salutary warning not to insert the `conventional wisdoms of twentieth-century economic thinking' into Smith's eighteenth century discourse of natural liberty.
(11) On the Gorgon see Thompson (1984:118-121). Thompson argues that its editors, John Wade and Francis Place, formulated a radical political economy which mixed elements from Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776) and David Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817) (and I would add liberal sprinklings of Benthamite utilitarianism). How representative the Gorgon was of metropolitan artisanal opinion is contentious. Calhoun (1982:250), argues that The Gorgon `was not a typical representative of London artisan opinion', rather it articulated opinions more akin to the new industrial workers such as the Manchester Cotton Spinners.
(12) This passage is virtually identical to one contained in the Draft of A Petition to the House of Commons on the Statute of Apprentices 5 Eliz Cap 4 (Goldsmith's Collection, UL. Ms. 755 fol. 179) written during what would later become known as the Apprenticeship Campaign 1813-14. On this Campaign see T. K. Derry(1931:67-87) and Prothero (1979:51-61). (13) The Weavers wages had been reduced in 1815, 1816 and 1817, ( Pinchbeck 1930:172 note 5). On the mythology of the independent handloom weavers see The Autobiography of Samuel Bamford Volume 1 Early Days (ed) W. Chaloner (1967:119-125), and Joyce (1994: Part 1. )


Abrams, P. (1982) Historical Sociology, Shepton Mallett: Open Books.

Althusser, L.(1970) For Marx, New York: Vintage Books.

Althusser, L. (1971) `Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (notes towards an Investigation)' in Lenin, Philosophy and other essays, New York: Monthly Review Press. British Parliamentary Papers (1817) `Report From the Committee on the Petitions of the Watchmakers of Coventry & C.', 1817, British Sessional Papers Vol.VI.

Bottomore, T. et al (eds) A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, London: Blackwell

Behagg, C. (1990) Politics and Production in the Early Nineteenth Century, London: Routledge Brown, V. (1994) Adam Smith's Discourse: Canonicity, Commerce and Conscience, London:Routledge

Calhoun, C. (1982) The Question of Class Struggle. Social foundations of Popular Radicalism during the Industrial Revolution, London: Blackwell.

Castoriadis, C. (1984) Crossroads in the Labyrinth, Brighton: Harvester.

Castoriadis, C. (1987) The Imaginary Institution of Society, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Curry, P. (1993)`Towards a post-Marxist social history: Thompson, Clark and beyond', in A. Wilson (ed), Rethinking Social History. English Society 1570-1920 and its Interpretation, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Derry, T.K. (1931) `The repeal of the apprenticeship clauses of the Statute of Artificers', Economic History Review, 3 (1): 67-87.

Dobson, C.R. (1980) Masters and Journeymen. A Prehistory of Industrial relations 1717-1800, London: Croom Helm. Eley, G. and Nield, K. (1995) `Starting over: the present, the post-modern and the moment of social history', Socal History, 20 (3): 355-364.

Foucault, M. (1972) The Archaeology of Knowledge trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith. London Routledge.

Guildhall Library, (1813) `Statute of 5. Elizabeth', Broadside 20.31.

Guildhall Library, (1814) `Prospectus Of An Association To Ammend An Act Of The 5th Elizabeth',Broadside 20.32.

Hammond, B. & Hammond, J.L. (1966) The Town Labourer 1760-1832, London: Longmans.

Hohfeld,W. N. (1919) Fundamental Legal Conceptions As Applied In Judicial Reasoning, London: Yale University Press.

Hobsbawm, E. J. (1968) Labouring Men. Studies in the History of Labour, London: Wiednefield & Nicholson

Jones, K. (1982) Law and Economy. The Legal Regulation of Corporate Capital, London: Academic Press. Johnson, S. (1785, 6th Edition) A Dictionary of the English Language Vols.I & II. London.

Joyce, P.(1995) `The end of social history?', Social History, 20(3): 73-91. Linebaugh, P. (1991) The London Hanged. Crime And Civil Society In the Eighteenth Century, London: Allen Lane.

Marx, K. (1946) Capital: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production. Vol. 1, trans S. Moore and E. Aveling. London: Allen and Unwin.

Marx, K. (1973) Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, trans. M. Nicolaus. London: Allen and Lane.

Mathias, P. (1979) The Transformation Of England, London: Metheun. Outhwaite, W. (1987) New Philosophies of Social Science. Realism, Hermeneutics and Critical Theory, London: Macmillan.

Pichbeck, I. (1930) Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution 1750-1850, London: Routledge.

Prothero,I. (1979) Artisans & Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century London, Folkstone: Dawson. Public Records Office (1823) Letter from the Committee of the Manchester Weavers. H.0. 40. 18.

Ranciere, J. (1983) `The Myth of the Artisan. Critical Reflections on a Category of Social history', International Labor and Working Class History, (1983) XXIV, 1-16.

Randall, A. (1992)`New languages or old? Labour, capital and discourse in the Industrial revolution', Social History, 5(2):195-216.

Rule, J. (1985) "Artisan attides: a comparitive survey of skilled labor and proletarianisation before 1848", Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History, 50:22-31.

Rule, J. (1987)`The property in skill in the period of manufacture", in P. Joyce (ed.) The Historical Meanings of Work, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saramago, J. (1996) The History of the Siege of Lisbon, London: Harvill Press.

Smail, J. (1987) `New languages for labour and capital: the transformation of discourse in the early years of the Industrial Revolution', Social History, 12(1): 49-71.

Sonenscher, M. (1989) Work And Wages. Natural law, politics and the eighteenth-century French trades, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Steadman-Jones, G. (1983) Languages of Class: Studies in English Working-Class History 1832-1982. Cambridge: University Press. The Gorgon (1818) Nov. 28th.

Thompson, N. W. (1984) The People's Science. The popular political economy of exploitation and crisis 1816-34, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wickham, G. (1990) `The Currency of History for Sociology' in S. Kendrich et al (eds) Interpreting the Past, Understanding the Present. London: Macmillan.

Woodiwiss, A. (1990a) Social Theory After Postmodernism: Rethinking Production, Law and Class. London: Pluto Press.

Woodiwiss, A. (1990b) Rights v. Conspiracy: A Sociological Essay on the History of American Labour Law. Oxford: Berg.

back to P Sutton page