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Books by Olssen, Erik

Working Lives c. 1900: A photographic essay

ISBN: 978 1 877578 51 9

For the men and women of the skilled trades in the early 20th century, the skills and knowledge of their respective crafts were a source of identity and pride. Together with the so-called unskilled, who built the infrastructure for the new society, these workers laid the cultural and social foundations of a new and fairer society.
This book uses photographs to show two processes fundamental to creating a new society: the transformation of swamp into farmland then cityscape, and the transplantation of the knowledge and skill acquired in the Old World that were essential to building a new world.

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Class, Gender and the Vote: Perspectives from New Zealand History

ISBN: 1 877372 02 1

With the rise of the study of social history in the second half of the twentieth century, the focus of many historians shifted from politics, high culture and foreign policy to new areas, including health, demographics, families, crime, women and immigration. But with this new historical work came a problem that threatened coherence in the field: how to deal with the detail of so many different pasts amongst the people of New Zealand?

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Class and Occupation: The New Zealand Reality

ISBN: 1 877372 03 X

Class and Occupation is the first systematic attempt to identify New Zealand's actual occupational structure from 1893 to 1938, using the information gathered by the Census. The six essays consider how best to construct an occupational structure for both the whole country and for regions/localities within it. Identification of changes in occupational structure occurring across the period casts light on social change in New Zealand and, significantly, women's participation in the paid non-agricultural workforce.

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An Accidental Utopia: Social mobility and the foundations of an egalitarian society, 1880–1940

ISBN: 978 1 877372 64 3

An Accidental Utopia? investigates a more egalitarian past at a time when New Zealand ranked fourth in the developed world for social inequality.