Building the ‘House of Industry’: Factory Citizenship and Gendered Spaces at Cadbury’s and Rowntree’s

Author: Timo Luks
This is the abstract of an article published in Labour History Review (2020), 85, (3), 233–252. Find out more.

This article examines the case studies of Cadbury’s and Rowntree’s to show how two particular factories have been transformed into what could be called middle-range experimental spaces. It demonstrates how one particular setting of industrial ‘governmentality’ was established, based on cooperation, ‘mutual understanding’, and ‘empowerment’ in order to overcome confrontational approaches in personnel management as well as outdated modes of ‘benevolent paternalism’. Cadbury- and Rowntree-style social engineering, the article argues, redefined its task to create what one could call ‘factory citizenship’. Within this context, it was the metaphor of building a house that made it possible to foster workers’ ‘responsibility’ without making too many concessions to a more radical version of industrial democracy. Since these concepts had a strong gender bias, the article interprets this particular kind of social engineering as an effort to turn factories into ‘gendered spaces’.