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date: 25 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Material culture in Victorian working-class homes acted as a medium through which messages about the importance of industry, diligence, and obedience could be emphasized to children. This chapter will review the ways in which material culture scholars have approached the subject of child labour in different areas of the Victorian world, as well as elucidating the differences and similarities in children’s experiences of work in different parts of the western world during the nineteenth century. It will consider decorative motifs on mass-produced domestic material culture, the role of toys as objects for training children, and work-related artefacts with which children may have interacted, but which do not bear obvious characteristics suggesting that they were specifically made for children. Labour will be addressed in its broadest sense, including gendered differences in the material culture of labour and the broader historical driving forces behind the existence of work-related material ‘propaganda’.

Keywords: Victorian, childhood, toys, material culture, labour, work, working-class, propaganda

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