From Streets to Factories, Traces of Industrial Revolution: An Examination of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South Using Discourse Analysis

Zincir O. , Özbebek Tunç A.

III. İşletme Tarihi Konferansı, İstanbul, Turkey, 24 September 2020, pp.106-111

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.106-111


Literary works can be considered as eyewitnesses reflecting the period in which they were written. It is possible to come across many types of literary texts in Britain in 19th century and refer some of them in the context of industrialization. The main theme of Victorian era industrial novels, which is a sub-field of fiction works, is industrialization and its effects at micro and macro levels, and such works can be considered as a source by presenting plenty of data for industrialization research. The novel North and South which has been written by Elizabeth Gaskell, one of the few female writers of the period who produced works in industrial fiction and social novel genres mostly in the second half of the 19th century, had been published in 1855. In this novel, she narrated the changes and transformations with industry through the observations of the main fictitious character’s moving from the south to the north of England, dialogues she experienced with people from opposing social classes and the events she witnessed. The main question of this paper is, "What kind of discoursive practices does North and South build upon about the Industrial Revolution and its effects?". It aims to examine how the author conveys the economic and sociological contexts of the setting in which the novel takes place. For this purpose, the novel has been examined within the framework of discourse analysis, which does not present a methodological rigidity, some general themes in line with industrialization and its effects have been found out, and these were interpreted in the context of the concepts of power and authority within the scope of the economic and social changes and transformations of the period by mentioning the underlying discoursive practices.

Keywords: British Business History, Industrial Revolution, Industrial Fiction Novels, Qualitative Research, Discourse Analysis