What is the shift from an agrarian mode of living to industrial capitalism... in terms of the role of women?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If we are examining how dialectical materialism impacts women, I think that we have to see that one of the primary results is that it creates a new dimension to what it means to be a "woman."  Originally, the existing social and economic order allowed men to engage in whatever industry they wished to, as they were linked by what they did.  This allowed for a complete immersion in the vocation that one chose, and not much in way of alienation.  The cottage industry or agrarian system that was pre- industrial did not feature much of economic exploitation.  When men and women succumb to industrialization, it is here where economic alienation happens.  This is when individuals are defined distinctly against their work.  They no longer choose what they want to do, and no longer engage in vocations that are reflective of them or their talents.  Instead, they work in factories for hours on end in order to earn a paycheck.  This impacts women because they experienced a silencing of voice on two levels.  The first would be that the existing social order still refused to acknowledge their own experience or narrative and the new level of silence transpires through economic reality.  The industrial life did not care aboiut man or woman, as it sought to dehumanize anyone and everyone that lacked economic power and voice.  Women, therefore, had to end up defining themselves and lacking autonomy on both social and economic levels.

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