Organisation of the Roman Clothing and Textile Industry: Skill, Occupation, and the Gender-Segmented Workforce
By Marjorie Jerrard
Monash University Working Paper (2000)
Abstract: The Roman textile and clothing industry was organised into a public and a private sector, however, the division was not on a contract basis. Instead, ‘private’ denoted the manufacture of cloth and articles of clothing undertaken domestically, usually by women, and ‘public’ denoted that done commercially by (usually) male waged craftsmen and labourers in workshops or ‘factories’. The industry therefore provides an ancient example of the gendered division of labour. This pattern of organisation has a major effect on the issue of control in the industry, particularly at the micro-organisational level of the workplace. This paper draws on ancient evidence to demonstrate that the pattern of industrial relations in the Roman clothing and textile industry exhibits a number of characteristics common to the modern industry.
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