Social and Labour History News

Labour Law History from a Global Perspective: Collective Workplace Disputes and their Normative Contexts

1 month 1 week ago

International Conference at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt am Main, 12-13 September 2023 

Organizer: Dr Johanna Wolf

The history of labour law is a rather niche discipline in many countries, with only a few experts dealing with it. Depending on the historical genesis of the field, these are either jurists who have specialised in labour law or historians who come from a labour history background. What scholars have in common is that they often concentrate on national contexts and only rarely consider the relation to labour law of other nations (with the exception of European labour law or international regulation arising in connection with the International Labour Organization). That is, we do not find studies about the entangled history of these developments, literature with comparison as a methodological basis, or research questions that focus on similarities and differences of cases studies (unless the similarities and historical linkages are obvious, e.g. development in the context of colonial history).

This observation was already made by colleagues at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam in the early 2000s, bringing together experts on the topic in an exciting publication.[1] This occurred at a time when Labour History in general was breaking new ground, reinventing itself, and trying to become more global, less Eurocentric. In the meantime, many initiatives, academic projects, and publications have developed out of this. Global Labour History is a recognised field today in which research on diverse topics is conducted. But what about Global Labour Law History? Have similar developments taken place here?

In the last years, the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory has developed some methodological proposals for doing Global Legal History, suggesting an analytical framework that helps to understand normative orders as the result of normative practices, observing them as Historical Regimes of Normativity. For example, in the research project ‘Non-state Law of the Economy,’ we are investigating norms and regulations in industrial relations in the German 19th and 20th centuries. Norms are not produced by the state but rather by a multifaceted field of actors and institutions in which the normative order is negotiated, codified, and called into question. This new approach seems suitable to take another look at the history of labour law and bring labour law historians into conversation with each other.

As a first step in this initiative, a conference is planned at which interdisciplinary, transversal, and transnational possibilities for networking and thematic focuses will be discussed. It will take place on 12-13 September 2023 at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory.  Online participation will be offered. Registration is possible via the e-mail until 5 September 2023.


[1] Van der Linden, Marcel and Richard G. Price (eds). The Rise and Development of Collective Labour Law. International and Comparative Social History, Bern etc.: Lang 2000.


CfP: Unsettling Orthodoxies in Merchant Seafaring History (Post 1750) 

1 month 2 weeks ago



An invitation to graduate and post-doctoral students, and early career faculty to participate in an online real-time discussion series hosted by Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. 


Our purpose: discussion of the sources, concepts, and methods that inform us about past maritime populations.  


While the growth of humanists’ and social scientists’ interest in the “maritime factor” encourages this initiative it is geared to a better historical understanding of the multiple, intersecting, and shifting forces and relations that have characterized the oceans and their landward connections during the long nineteenth century. Mindful to historiography as an act in the present on behalf of the future we ask what approaches, insights, even records, might we leave behind, and what (or whom) do we forget at our peril? We anticipate a developing, critical, conversation about ships, crews and ports at different points – local, national, and global – where the precepts of capitalist and imperial development ill-matched modes of existing by seaborne trade and transit. Participants should be ready to stay the course by making a regular commitment to the series.  


Our topics: while the organizers will invite participants’ suggestions for the second semester, we canvass two topics for the early sessions.  


During a lengthy engagement with sailortown historians have re-thought its period characterization as a site of economic dysfunctionality and political alterity. But if the co-constitution of embodiment and landscape in ports is to further reward theoretical and empirical work what sensibilities might prime our observations of the lives of labor, leisure, family, and sexuality unfolding in vessels, mercantile marine and consular offices, in docks, market squares, corner shops and homes, as well as in brothels, bars and back alleys?  


Materialism re-made is our cue to considering activities and objects that link seafaring and landward labour. By acknowledging unpaid or undervalued domestic production and the skills and objects accrued through leisure pastimes, we will challenge ontological separation of ideas and things.  Might the long-standing criticism of the historical and historiographical devaluation of women's work in maritime settings draw momentum from this critical approach to the gender binary that separates maritime spaces occupationally?  


Our format: six online sessions of up to 90 minutes during the fall 2023 and winter 2024 semesters. While still subject to confirmation, they will likely be timed for Central Standard Time (North America) 11.00- 12.30 (UTC-6). We apologize to would-be participants from time-zones not easily squared with this schedule. 


Making contact: at your earliest opportunity let us know of your interest. Please include relevant biographical details. Your message will reach the organizers at: 


We are

Meaghan Walker: Independent Researcher, St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada 

Kristof Loockx: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Antwerp, Belgium. 

Valerie Burton: Emeritus Professor of Maritime History, Memorial University, Canada 


Our hosts: the Maritime History Archive of Memorial University The archive has often hosted online events of this kind. A recording of a previous event “Postcolonial Uses for the Primary Sources of British Imperial Merchant Seafarers in the 19th & 20th Centuries” is available

CfP: Elsewhere. The Migration of Families in the Past from a Labour History and Family Economy Perspective (18th-19th Century)

1 month 3 weeks ago

The ELHN Labour and Family Economy Working Group invites papers for the session:
Elsewhere. The Migration of Families in the Past from a Labour History and Family Economy Perspective (18th-19th Century)



  • Beatrice Zucca Micheletto (University of Padua)

Deadline to receive papers: 10 September 2023

Globalisation, with its massive population movements, has shed light on the multiplicity of themes and problems to reflect on in relation to migration, highlighting the need to revisit the past with new questions. As the research often argued, migration fuels important economic, social and cultural transformations. We are therefore convinced of the need to broaden our gaze and redefine paradigms taken for granted. The stereotype, in fact, describes immigration as a phenomenon that sees, among its ranks, mainly men, young adults who leave their country of origin for work, leaving behind a family that, God willing, will one day join them in their new homeland. This narrative has prompted research to heavily focus on this type of interpretation, sidestepping numerous issues related to other types of migration and other characteristics of migrants. To the variables generally considered when talking about emigration, it is necessary to add other elements - such as, for example, the definition of identity, the dynamics of memory, relational dimensions, dislocation - in order to grasp points of continuity and points of rupture.

This call for papers wishes to focus on the migration of families between the 18th and 19th century, deepening the knowledge of often neglected variables and modes of migration during the industrialization period. The dialogue that this call for papers hopes to stimulate may shed new light on the family economy in migrant families, fostering dialogue between family history, labour history, migration history, economic history, and gender history. Papers may address:

  1. Family migration as production unit migration. How can family migration be defined? Which reasons motivate a family to migrate? How do migration and workshop dynamics dialogue? How is family migration organised and what role does work play? What role do intermediaries and the network of contacts play in household migrations? Can a particular concentration of family movements be identified at certain periods and in particular locations?
  2. The role of gender and age variables in migration. What professional skills do migrant women have? Do they maintain their jobs between country of departure and country of arrival? How do profession and care work dialogue in migration dynamics? What role do children play in migration? What consequences does migration have on work training and children's education? What links exist between identity, community and migrant labour? How do single-parent families migrate, particularly if the only parent is the mother?
  3. The migration of highly skilled individuals and the dissemination of techniques. What policies are put in place by institutions to attract highly skilled workers? In these cases, is the family seen as a hindrance or as an added value? What commonalities and breaking points can be identified between the migration of skilled craftsmen and ordinary workers? What social integration dynamics are put in place, how do they work and what are the results?

In this particular context, we are interested in studying any kind of migratory phenomena, be it of long or short duration, be it long-distance or a relatively short distance. Contributions from any geographical region are welcome, and although the main focus is on early modern and modern history, contributions on other historical periods will also be considered.

How to apply

Please send a 500-word abstract and a short academic CV to Mario Grassi ( and Céline Mutos-Xicola ( by 10 September 2023. The proposal should include name, surname, current affiliation and contact details of the proponent. The subject of the email needs to be: “Labour and Family Economy ELHN 2024”. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact the organizers.

CfP: Labour, gender and social mobility during the industrialization

1 month 3 weeks ago

The ELHN Labour and Family Economy Working Group invites papers for the session
Labour, gender and social mobility during the industrialization

Organizers: Llorenç FERRER ALOS (Universitat de Barcelona), and Cinzia LORANDINI (Università di Trento),

Discussant: Manuela MARTINI (Université de Lyon)

Deadline to receive proposals: 10 september 2023

In studies of social mobility, the industrialization debate maintains that in most European countries the pre-industrial period was relatively stable due to the social stratification based on blood lines and family inheritance, but that industrialization created an open society, in which social mobility was based on acquired characteristics such as education and work. However, recently it has been recognized that the issue of the relationship between modernity and social mobility is far from settled. In a range of social theories, even those that hold that social stratification has a multidimensional character, employment has been viewed as a better proxy of social inequality than education, income, or wealth. Indeed, classic studies on social mobility have massively used male occupation as a proxy for social inequality and mobility. Doubts about the industrialization debate deepen when considering that the hypotheses regarding mobility have been based solely on male social mobility, in the same way that the study of intergenerational mobility is based on transmission between males, from fathers to sons, the main determinant of mobility being the father's occupation. As far as female mobility is concerned, given the profound (and not always linear) historical changes in gender relations, our vision of social mobility in the transition from the ancien regime to modern societies may be fundamentally altered. In fact, several recent studies have examined female mobility and intergenerational transmission from mothers to daughters.

The industrialization debate is also being revised because of the incorporation in the debate of a larger and more complex set of determinants of mobility, including individual and institutional factors: political systems, systems of ownership and inheritance, religion, the educational system, family types, gender relations, and systems of work organization in terms of business culture and the activity of companies or unions.

From this more complex perspective, in the studies of social mobility as mobility over the course of a lifetime, changes in the world of work occupy a central place. These changes may disrupt systems of production and accumulated human capital, and they may generate new systems and new opportunities for social promotion, depending on the new organizational systems, the new skills required, and the new labour hierarchies. In both cases, adaptive strategies to face crises or new opportunities are never individual. They are inscribed in an institutional context that delimits the options and endows or restricts educational, occupational, and economic resources according to class, gender, ethnicity, religion, and wealth, and in a family context that activates personal, economic and cultural resources and relationship networks to strengthen their members’ chances of coping successfully with new situations, in which gender inequalities are often apparent.

In the nineteenth century, the political changes derived from the creation of the liberal State, technological changes and new ways of organizing work opened up new opportunities and destroyed others, thus making upward or downward mobility possible. However, given the segregation of labour markets and gender inequalities, men and women faced these moments of change with unequal resources.

This session aims to bring together studies on the effect of economic, productive and labour changes on the trajectories of individuals and their families and to analyse at a qualitative level the mechanisms that allowed social mobility in industrializing societies. The presentations should approach social mobility from this perspective. Some suggestions:

  • The destruction of the guild system opened up new opportunities for former masters and journeymen. How was this situation used? What was the result of this adaptation? How did these changes affect women’s work opportunities and mobility in the new liberal society?
  • The disappearance of commercial monopolies paved the way for the creation of shops and businesses of all kinds. What groups led the change? How did they take advantage of the new commercial mechanisms that were developed? What role did family play in this transformation? Did the liberal civil law expand or limit the options open to women in the new commercial and business activities?
  • There was a growing demand for architects, veterinarians, doctors… due to the new organization of the liberal state. The social prestige of these professions rose. Which social groups did they come from? Did their emergence represent a continuity or a break with previous schemes? What role did the state, professional associations and family play in the gender inequalities in the access to the new professions?
  • What was the origin of foremen, overseers, and company directors? What new opportunities did the construction of new textile factories offer?
  • Which occupations were affected by the opportunities arising from the reconversion of occupations from the ancien regime to the new liberal society? What economic and social spaces did they occupy? What social groups took advantage of it? How did these changes affect women social mobility?
  • What role does the family play in social mobility processes related to occupation?

How to apply

Please send a 500-word abstract and a short academic CV to Llorenç Ferrer-Alòs ( and Cinzia Lorandini ( by 10 September 2023. The proposal should include name, surname, current affiliation and contact details of the proponent. The subject of the email needs to be: “Labour and Family Economy ELHN 2024”. If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact the organizers.

CfP: Women of the Waterfront. Gendering ports, careers, relations and (everyday) life trajectories in Modern times  

2 months ago

Organisers: NextGenerationEU Project ‘Ondine’ (Dep. History, Humanities and Society – Tor Vergata University of Rome) in collaboration with Istituto nazionale Ferruccio Parri, Fondazione ISEC and Fondazione Gramsci  

Dates and location: Rome, 6–7 December 2023 at Casa Internazionale delle Donne and remotely  

Languages of communications: English and Italian  
The workshop aims to highlight the modalities through which gender (dis)affiliation shaped or influenced labour and/or business cultures, the relations between sexes, classes, generations, nationalities/‘races’ or other kinds of belonging, and, finally, everyday life patterns in (imperial/colonial) European port/emporium cities in Modern times (19th–20th centuries). 
As Catterall and Campbell (2012) have suggested, ports can be acknowledged as ‘points of articulation’ between the various axes of an individual’s identity (e.g., class, sex, ‘race’), different contexts of belonging (e.g., community, ethnicity, corporate group, the State) and different normative frameworks (e.g., formal authority, capitalism, religion). In that scenario, gender appears as a particularly effective intersectional analysis tool for that specific environment since it allows the inquiry to transcend the
limits of a normative, identity and belonging nature.  

When uttering the word ‘port’, the first image that comes to mind, after ships and docks, is that of a sailor, a merchant, a traveller/tourist or, finally, a migrant. In the collective imaginary, all these subjects are men, and, in the same way, city ports are usually gendered as masculine environments. Nevertheless, considering that local men – in their turn sailors, merchants, travellers or migrants – were often and for long periods away from home, the urban-maritime contexts were actually spaces that  allowed women, especially of the lower classes, noticeable economic, social, relational and cultural agency. In Modern times, for women, work, career and entrepreneurial opportunities in a port city included roles such as moneylender, maid, fishmonger, innkeeper, smuggler, seafarer, journey[wo]man – also at the docks or shipyards –, sex workers, and processors or retailers of colonial consumer goods (e.g., tobacco, coffee, chocolate). However, ports’ women were also traders, shipowners,  travellers/tourists, explorers, and adventurers too. In this regard, it is essential to understand that women also chose to leave their home communities to pursue novel labour, social and economic horizons, often in other city ports and frequently overseas. In doing so, those migrant female workers/entrepreneurs were also able to
reconfigure and reframe gender relations and roles outside the mainstream and dominant socio-cultural norms.  

Finally, it is necessary to emphasise that the intricated intersection between the urban-maritime environment and gender can also adopt the contours of the ‘crime story’, with its multifaceted sexual, public health, moralistic, repressive and normative entanglements (Maynard, 1993; Milne, 2016; Richards, 2022; Thornberry, 2016).  
We would particularly welcome: 

-  proposals that deal with women’s socio-economic activities in imperial/colonial European cityports and/or in a class-cross perspective;  
-  proposals from scholars belonging to disciplines other than history (e.g., anthropology, sociology, economics, migration and queer studies). 

The workshop proceedings in English and Italian will be published in a collective volume edited by Erica Mezzoli for the Vita Activa (Trieste, Italy) publisher.  
Please send your 20-minute-presentation proposal to Erica Mezzoli at by 15 September 2023. The proposal should include: 
- max 300-word abstract in English; 
- max 250-word bio profile in English with affiliation, position and contact information. 
The workshop is organised in the framework of the NextGenerationEU Project ‘Ondine. Women’s Labour and Everyday Life on the Upper and Eastern Adriatic Waterfronts, mid-19th century–mid-20th century’ (Funded by EU; CUP E53C22002420001) hosted by the Department of History, Humanities and Society of the Tor Vergata University of Rome.  

CfP: “What is your take on violence?” On a crucial question of the international Left in its historical-political context

2 months 1 week ago

International Conference 

IHSF Vienna, International Rosa Luxemburg Society, Nord University

Vienna, 20-22 June 2024


Organization team

  • Dr. Florian Wenninger, Institut für Historische Sozialforschung (IHSF), Vienna
  • Charlotte Rönchen, MA, Institut für Historische Sozialforschung (IHSF), Vienna 
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Frank Jacob, Nord Universitet, Bodø, Norway 


In the years leading up to the First World War, the international labor movement made considerable efforts to counteract an escalation in international politics. In fact, however, in the respective historical-political context of their time, numerous influential left-wing theorists, who, for example, strictly opposed an armed conflict of the European powers, had to take the position that violence was “[the] means of the offensive [...] where the legal terrain of the class struggle has yet to be conquered.” (Rosa Luxemburg, 1902). Against the background of this apparent contradiction, the planned conference in Vienna will examine left-wing positions on violence in the 19th and 20th centuries.


Starting with the thesis that violence in its respective historical-political contexts was primarily discussed from two points of view by the Left, namely that of political functionality and that of moral legitimacy, the conference is not only asking for theoretical positions within this debate, but also wants to inquire practical derivations from the "propaganda of action" by anarchist terrorists of the 19th century, to Karl Kautsky's and Rosa Luxemburg's criticism of the Bolshevik revolutionary policy of 1918, and to the establishment of left-wing military associations. Last but not least, the left-wing pacifist currents, especially against the background of the First World War should also be addressed.


The conference therefore focuses in particular on the following five topics:

1. How have left-wing intellectuals approached or discussed the issue of violence?

2. How did left-wing violence develop in concrete situations, how was it organized and what goals were pursued in each case?

3. How did the experience of (mass) violence shape specific actions both within the labor movement and in the everyday lives of its members or representatives? How did its activists and officials react individually or collectively to violence from political opponents or the authorities? And how was the use of violence on “their own” side received?

4. How was violence remembered in left-wing contexts?

5. And finally, how was the issue of violence discussed at international level, also in terms of an offensive approach?


Interested scholars should submit a presentation proposal (max. 300 words and a short biography, approx. 100 words), preferably but not exclusively on one of the above-mentioned subject areas, to by August 15, 2023. In the event of a positive evaluation of the proposal, travel and accommodation costs will be covered, if they cannot be covered through the participants’ existing institutional affiliation. The participation in the conference includes the obligation to provide an extended version of your contribution for the publication of a conference volume later as well.


CfP: Stratégies anticapitalistes pour le XXIe siècle. Penser le changement social avec et après Erik Olin Wright

2 months 1 week ago

L'anticapitalisme s'inscrit dans une histoire longue et prend des formes aussi variées que le capitalisme lui-même. Depuis la crise de 2008, le terme semble connaître un souffle nouveau. Un nombre croissant de mobilisations s’en réclament et dénoncent les méfaits du capitalisme en réactualisant d'anciennes critiques - économiques, politiques, sociales - ou en élaborant de nouvelles - féministes, écologiques, numériques, postcoloniales (Ancelovici, Dufour, Nez,2015; Della Porta, 2015). Historiquement, l’anticapitalisme n’a pas seulement consisté critiquer le capitalisme, mais à penser ses alternatives et à élaborer les stratégies pour y parvenir. Or, l’effervescence actuelle de l'activité critique contraste avec la faiblesse du débat théorique sur cette « question stratégique » (Bensaïd, 2011).En France, ce débat stratégique a été marqué par la traduction récente de deux ouvrages d’Erik Olin Wright : Utopies réelles (Wright, 2017) et Stratégies anticapitalistes pour le XXIe siècle(Wright, 2020). Le sociologue marxiste y élabore une théorie de la transformation qui prend escompte les forces et les contradictions du capitalisme ainsi que les dynamiques sociales et stratégiques qui permettent d'envisager son dépassement. Écartant la voie révolutionnaire, il plaide pour une stratégie plurielle visant à éroder plutôt qu’à renverser l’hégémonie capitaliste.

Selon lui, toute stratégie anticapitaliste conséquente doit associer des luttes par le haut et par Lebas. Les premières, mises en œuvre par l’État, visent à domestiquer et démanteler le capitalisme(p. ex. services publics, Sécurité sociale, droit du travail, budgets participatifs). Les secondes, issues des mouvements sociaux, ayant pour objectif de lui résister par la rue et les grèves, et le fuir en expérimentant dans ses failles des utopies réelles non capitalistes permettant d’élargir les imaginaires et pratiques politiques (p. ex. coopératives, « zones à défendre »).

L’objectif de cet appel à communications est de penser les stratégies anticapitalistes et le changement social avec et au-delà d'Erik Olin Wright. Il vise à prolonger les discussions académiques qui ont eu lieu sur son travail outre-Atlantique pour en montrer les apports, les limites et les perspectives. Il réunira des propositions issues des sciences sociales (sociologie, science politique, économie, histoire, géographie, anthropologie, philosophie, etc.) qui mettent ces hypothèses stratégiques à l’épreuve du terrain en se basant sur des enquêtes empiriques originales. Les propositions pourront s’inscrire dans un des quatre ensembles de questions suivantes (sans caractère limitatif).

Axe 1. Par le haut, par le bas, par le côté : quelle(s) stratégie(s) ?

Pour commencer, il s'agit de questionner la thèse stratégique centrale d’E. O. Wright : l'hypothèse révolutionnaire doit être abandonnée au profit d'une alliance renforcée entre les mouvements critiques du capitalisme et l’État. Quels facteurs objectifs justifient, ou au contraire réfutent, la mise à l'écart de l’hypothèse révolutionnaire, et plus largement des actions illégales, violentes ou de désobéissance civile ? Dans quelle mesure ces questions classiques (Piven, Cloward, 1977), sont-elles aujourd’hui débattues dans différents secteurs du mouvement social ? Un des enjeux en particulier est de questionner la possibilité d’expérimenter au sein de l'État ou en ses marges des pratiques politiques alternatives. Quel bilan peut-on par exemple tirer des expériences municipalistes dans une perspective post-capitaliste (Carrel, Cossart et al.2020; Nez, 2022; Bantigny, 2023, Ross, 2023) ? Quelles échelles (locale, nationale, transnationale) et types d’alliances (subventions, contrats, etc.) s’avèrent les plus fructueuses avec les pouvoirs publics ? Comment éviter les formes de récupération ou de dépolitisation des luttes qui s’allient aux institutions ? Quelles transformations récentes de l’État favorisent, ou au contraire limitent, les perspectives d’alliances, et comment ces dernières réactualisent le débat Miliband-Poulantzas sur la nature capitaliste de l’État (Jessop, 2011) ? Il s’agira de questionner tant les relations à l’État, que la façon dont la répression étatique croissante des luttes façonnent les stratégies des mouvements sociaux, entre contournement, désarmement et affrontement larvé.

Axe 2. Quelles forces des utopies réelles ?

Un second ensemble de questions porte sur la place à accorder aux utopies réelles comme ferment de transformation à partir de situations en cours. Quelles stratégies sont déployées pour faire sortir ces utopies de leur marginalité ? Quelles sont les pistes expérimentées par différents mouvements anticapitalistes (économie sociale et solidaire, logiciels libres, coopératives autogérées, municipalisme libertaire, etc.) pour faire « passer à l'échelle » leurs modèles d'organisation ? Les récits alternatifs que ces utopies préfigurent ont-ils actuellement une force matérielle suffisante pour engager des mobilisations sociales (Bourdeau et al., 2021) ? Quelles articulations existent ou sont à penser entre les formes de politiques préfiguratives, les stratégies interstitielles et les mobilisations de masse (Yates, 2015) ?

Axe 3. Quels agents politiques ?

Le troisième axe porte sur les agents historiques susceptibles de favoriser, ou de s'opposer, aux luttes anticapitalistes. Un des points les plus controversés des derniers écrits d’E. O. Wright porte sur son abandon de la catégorie analytique de classe sociale pour penser l’anticapitalisme (Burawoy, 2020). Au niveau théorique, quelle est aujourd’hui la pertinence d’une analyse des mouvements anticapitalistes en termes de classes sociales et de lutte des classes ? En réactualisant la pensée de Gramsci, est-il pertinent de parler de « blocs » (populaire, bourgeois et d'extrême droite) comme l'avancent certains représentants de gauche dans leur analyse de la dernière élection (Amable, Palombarini, 2017) ? D'un point de vue stratégique, le prolétariat incarne-t-il encore le principal agent historique susceptible de renverser le capitalisme (Gorz,1980) ? Comment construire en pratique des alliances entre différentes fractions des classes populaires dont la sociologie a pointé les divisions sociales et raciales objectives et subjectives? Quelles expériences existent déjà permettant de questionner les conditions sociales et politiques permettant de dépasser ces divisions (Brakni, 2020) ? Ces alliances doivent-elles être pensées à la lumière des stratégies de mobilisation à réaliser (Talpin, 2016; Penissat, 2022) ou des enjeux mis en en avant - comme la question du travail (Yon, 2021) ? Quelles alliances peuvent être nouées entre classes moyennes et classes populaires (Alinsky, 1949;) ? Au-delà des enjeux de classe, les propositions pourront s'intéresser à la diffusion du paradigme de l'intersectionnalité et de la façon dont il est approprié et débattu dans les réflexions stratégiques.

Axe 4. Que faire des organisations ?

Le quatrième axe interroge le rôle des différentes organisations - partis, syndicats, associations, mouvements - dans l'élaboration et la conduite des stratégies anticapitalistes. La science politique a pointé la « désinstitutionalisation » du militantisme (Lefebvre, 2019), et plus largement la remise en cause des formes structurées d'organisations politiques comme acteurs pertinents des luttes anticapitalistes, au profit de mobilisations spontanées en ligne, de réseaux informels et d'organisations "gazeuses" (Cervera-Marzal, 2021). Dans un contexte dérépression et de criminalisation accrues des mouvements sociaux, faut-il penser que l'informel constitue une ressource pour les collectifs, puisqu' « on ne dissout par un soulèvement » (X, Yet Kouvelakis, 2023) ? À l'inverse, l'absence de structuration ne risque-t-elle pas d'affaiblir lesluttes anticapitalistes qui nécessitent de mobiliser des ressources organisationnelles importantes sur le temps long, tout en favorisant la domination des plus doté.es dans la définition des stratégies de lutte en reléguant la parole des classes populaires, des femmes et des groupes racisés ? Quels formes et horizons temporels de l’action collective adopter pour lutter efficacement contre le capitalisme entre mobilisations spontanées et organisations pérennes, conflictualité et institutionnalisation, "guerre de mouvement et guerre de position" (Gramsci,2012) ? Il s'agira moins ici de revenir sur les différentes stratégies politiques (axe 1) et stratégies de mobilisation (axe 3) que d'analyser les stratégies organisationnelles, c'est-à-dire la manière dont les mobilisations anticapitalistes questionnent et adoptent les formes organisationnelles qu'elles considèrent comme les plus ajustées à leur lutte.

Calendrier prévisionnel
  • 15 septembre 2023 - Réception des propositions de communications présentant objet, question de recherche, inscription dans la littérature, méthodologie et résultats (max 500mots bibliographie non incluse).

Envoyer à et avec l’objet : « AAC Stratégies Anticapitalistes »

  • Début octobre 2023 - Mention aux auteurs
  • 25-26 janvier 2024 - Colloque à la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme Paris Nord
Conseil scientifique
  • Ludivine Bantigny, historienne
  • Laurent Jeanpierre, CESSP, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
  • Rémi Lefebvre, CERAPS, Université de Lille
  • Héloïse Nez, CITÉRES, Université de Tours
  • Ugo Palheta, CRESPPA, Université de Lille
  • Romane Rozencwajg, CRESPPA, Université Paris 8
  • Isabelle Sommier, CESSP, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
  • Karel Yon, IDHE.S, Université Nanterre
  • Alinsky, S., 1971, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, New York, Random House.
  • Amable, B. Palombarini, S., 2017, L'illusion du bloc bourgeois. Alliances sociales et avenir du modèle français,Paris, Raisons d'agir.
  • Ancelovici, M., Dufour, P. Nez, H., dir., 2015, Street Politics in the Age of Austerity. From the Indignados toOccupy, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.
  • Arruzza C., Bhattacharya T., Fraser N., Dervaux V., 2019, Féminisme pour les 99 %: un manifeste, Paris, laDécouverte.
  • Bantigny, L., 2023, Que faire ?, Paris, 10/18.
  • Bensaïd D., 2011, La politique comme art stratégique, Paris, Syllepse (Mille marxismes), 139 p.
  • Bourdeau V., Cottin-Marx S., Grisoni A., Blanc N.L., Ouardi S., Segas L., 2021, « Utopies. Troubles dans leprésent », Mouvements, 108, 4, p. 7-11.
  • Brakni, Y., 2019, « « Construire une expérience politique commune. Comment le Comité Adama a rejoint lemouvement des Gilets jaunes », Mouvements, vol. 100, no. 4, p. 34-42.
  • Burawoy M., 2020, « A Tale of Two Marxisms: Remembering Erik Olin Wright (1947–2019) », Politics & Society,48, 4, p. 467-494.
  • Carrel, M., Cossart, P., Gourgues, G., Juven, P-A, Talpin, dir., 2020, « Vive les communes ! Des ronds-points au municipalisme », Mouvements, 101 (1).
  • Cervera-Marzal, M., 2021, Le populisme de gaucheSociologie de la France insoumise, Paris, La Découverte.
  • Della Porta, D., 2015, Social movements in times of austerity: Bringing capitalism back into protest analysis,Londres, John Wiley & Sons.
  • Gorz A., 1980, Adieux au prolétariat: au delà du socialisme, Paris, Galilée (Collection RC), 240 p.
  • Gramsci A., 2012, Guerre de mouvement et guerre de position. Textes choisis et présentés par Razmig Keucheyan,Paris, La Fabrique.
  • Jeanpierre, L., 2021, « Former un engrenage socialiste », Balast,…
  • Jessop B., 2011, « Miliband-Poulantzas Debate », dans Encyclopedia of Power, California, SAGE Publications,Inc., p. 416-417.
  • Lefebvre, R., 2019, « Les Gilets jaunes et les exigences de la représentation politique », La Vie des idées, 10septembre 2019.
  • Mouffe C., Laclau E., 2019, Hégémonie et stratégie socialiste: Vers une radicalisation de la démocratie, Paris,Fayard/Pluriel, 320 p.
  • Nez H., 2020, « Pourquoi l’expérience des villes rebelles espagnoles a-t-elle été si brève ? », Mouvements : desidées et des luttes, 1, 101, p. 98-105.
  • Penissat, E., 2022, “France Insoumise : vers la construction d’un mouvement politique populaire ? »,
  • Contretemps,…
  • Piven F.F., Cloward R., 1977, Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail, New York, PantheonBooks, 381 p.
  • Ross, K., 2023, La forme commune, Paris, La Fabrique.Talpin, J., 2016, Community Organizing. De l’émeute à l’alliance des classes populaires aux Etats-Unis, Paris,Raisons d’agir.
  • Wright E.O., 2017, Utopies réelles, traduit par Farnea V., Peschanski J.A., Paris, La Découverte.
  • Wright E.O., 2020, Stratégies anticapitalistes pour le XXIe siècle, traduit par Jaquet C., Toulouse R., Paris, LaDécouverte, 184 p.
  • X, Y et Kouvelakis, S., 2023, « Les Soulèvements de la Terre : composition et stratégie de l’action de masse », Contretemps,…
  • Yates, L., 2015, “Rethinking Prefiguration: Alternatives, Micropolitics and Goals in Social Movements”, SocialMovement Studies, 14 (1), p. 1-21Yon, K., 2020, « Le syndicalisme, la retraite et les grèves », Contretemps,

CfP: Les frontières du travail / The boundaries of work

2 months 1 week ago

In French here:

Defining the constituent elements of work in ancient societies is a challenge for historians, as they generally do not correspond to contemporary conceptions of the professional world, which are often ill-suited to the semantic richness and fluidity of the categories in use in the ancient and medieval worlds. It is striking, however, that the notion of ‘frontier’ appears regularly when we attempt to define the contours of professional practices and their actors in these contexts. Legal/illegal work, work oriented towards self-consumption work/work open to the market, urban/rural work, constrained/free work, paid/unpaid work are all oppositions to be questioned, shifting and porous notions to be discussed, in order to reflect on the complexity of work and its multiple variations in time and space.

For this tenth issue of Frontière·s, authors are therefore invited to identify and question the boundaries of work in protohistoric, ancient and medieval societies. All types of approaches and sources (archaeological sources, textual sources, epigraphy, iconography…) can be considered. Historiographical reflections are particularly encouraged. The following topics may be addressed, without limitation:

  • spatial boundaries, at different scales (territory, city, buildings, internal organization of the workplace…): division of labour, workers and supply networks, work in domestic contexts…;
  • social boundaries, in order to shed light on individuals and groups at work: criteria of status, gender or age; integration or marginalization of workers in society; training and apprenticeship; family work…
  • legal and institutional frameworks (written rights, customs, institutions), focusing on practices that appear at the frontiers of work: unpaid work, family work, forced labour…;
  • the limits of representations, looking at the range of perceptions of work, from esteem to contempt. The way in which the identity of an individual or a group is affirmed through work, in words and images, will also be explored.

Authors are invited to propose both chronological case studies and surveys that explore the changing boundaries of work over the long term.


·       31 December 2023: Abstract submission deadline (optional)

·       31 May 2024: Deadline for submission of full papers

·       December 2024: Publication

How to submit

All paper proposals will consist of a text in French or English of up to 25,000 characters (excluding spaces), accompanied by abstracts in French and English (between 800 and 1,200 characters, excluding spaces) and keywords in French and English, and must be submitted by e-mail only to including institutional affiliation, position and name of the author. If they wish, authors may submit an abstract of no more than half a page in English or French with bibliographic references by 31 December 2023 for an indicative opinion from editors (answer within one month).

CfP: Prix Jean Maitron 2023

2 months 1 week ago

Le prix Jean Maitron est décerné chaque année. Il couronne un mémoire de master en sciences humaines et sociales d'une étudiante ou d'un étudiant dont les travaux prolongent l'œuvre de Jean Maitron.

Jean Maitron (1910-1987), instituteur syndicaliste devenu enseignant chercheur à l'Université Paris 1, est à l'origine de la fondation du Centre d'histoire sociale des mondes contemporains (CHS) ; Jean Maitron fut l’initiateur et le fondateur du Dictionnaire biographique Mouvement ouvrier / Mouvement social qui porte son nom et qui réunit à ce jour plus de 220 000 notices biographiques.

Le prix Maitron, présidé par l'historien Antoine Prost, est affilié à l'histoire sociale, l'histoire du mouvement social du XIXe au XXIe siècle, l'histoire du travail, l'histoire du syndicalisme, l'histoire sociale du genre, des sociétés urbaines et culturelles…

Ce mémoire d'histoire, de sociologie, de science politique… doit avoir été soutenu dans un établissement universitaire au cours des deux dernières années universitaires.

Le prix est de 1 500 euros.

Les mémoires sont à adresser en un seul document numérique (pdf) avant le 30 septembre à Camille Bourdiel :

En 2022, Etienne Hudon a été le lauréat du Prix Maitron pour son mémoire : La boulangerie parisienne en révolution: une micro-histoire de la Commune de 1871.

Très bel été à toutes et tous,

Les membres du Prix Maitron

CfP: The cost of labour in historical perspective. Social protection, taxation and labour market(s)

2 months 1 week ago

Le coût du travail en perspective historique. Protection sociale, fiscalité et marché(s) du travail

Il costo del lavoro in prospettiva storica. Protezione sociale, fiscalità e mercat(i) del lavoro

Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, November 2023, 2-3

The second globalisation has raised the issue of the cost of labour as a key variable in the competitiveness of economies. Confronted with the extension of value chains and the emergence of new global players in Asia, European governments have chosen to deregulate labour markets, contain wage growth, and lower the cost of labour. More recently, the resurgence of inflation has brought back to the fore the 1970s debates on the Phillips curve and the effects of the labour market on price increases. The emergence of the centrality of labour costs points to the need to examine them as a long-term historical object to understand economic and social policy choices throughout the twentieth century. Wages cannot be reduced to a variable for adjusting supply and demand on the labour market: they are also an instrument for selecting and training the workforce, and a subject of negotiation - and, possibly, contention - between employees and employers, often regulated and supervised by the State. Furthermore, during the twentieth century, wage setting became a matter of social policy. The development of social protection and the construction of social rights and required the introduction of social contributions on both employers and employees, as well as steeply progressive taxes on earned income. The cost of labour, understood as both wages and indirect costs (taxes, social contributions, non-monetary benefits), is a fundamental element of public policy in the second half of the twentieth century.: Not only does it affect the production process and the distribution of income but it also has an impact on export competitiveness, on the attraction of foreign investment, and on the creation and consolidation of domestic markets.

Conceived as a first step in the preparation of a journal issue or a collective work, this workshop proposes a historical reflection on labour cost by combining economic history, the history of the welfare state, and the history of labour. The aim is to contribute to the understanding of issues related to the cost of labour through the study of their scholarly, political, and media treatment, approached in their historical depth, taking into account the political, social, and territorial diversities of European countries. This workshop takes as its object the different modes of action on the cost of labour and the different actors involved in its regulation in a multidimensional approach, closely linked to wider social and political stakes. By discussing different European case studies - proposals devoted to France and Italy will be particularly appreciated, as well as those that develop a comparative and/or transnational perspective - it aims to grasp the political controversies around the cost of labour in the context of the debates on the “crisis of the welfare state”, a notion that became commonplace in the 1970s to explain the imbalance between the increase in expenditure and the need for budgetary savings, but also the need to reorient social protection systems as a whole in response to the rise in importance of new risks.

Participants could consider one or more of the following issues:

  1. Expert knowledge on the notion of cost of labour: how did it emerge and what social as well as theoretical needs did it address? How and why do certain narratives become established over time and reach a broad consensus? What is the role of economists, accountants, lawyers, sociologists and demographers? What are the conditions, historically situated, of production, dissemination and use of statistics on the cost of labour? What are the modes of articulation of scholarly reflection with the political and administrative sphere and the economic and social world? The overall debate related to the cost of labour was highly gendered as emerged in the long-lasting mobilization on equal pay: how did different actors conceptualize “family wage” and to what extent did the discussion on family wage change over time? What was the role of feminist thinking in deconstructing family wage and unveiling the gendered side of the policies addressing the cost of labour?
  2. The social actors involved in setting labour costs. How has the role of the State and the social partners (trade unions, employers' organisations) evolved historically? How have the State and nonactors managed to regulate and set the cost of labour?
  3. The emergence of public policies on the cost of labour. What importance have they had in the debates on the so-called “crisis of the welfare state”? How do measures affecting labour costs fit in with reforms of social protection, taxation, and employment policies? How were they supposed to respond to socio-cultural changes, rising unemployment, the entry of women into the labour market, changing demographic structures, and the challenges posed by the long-term effects of de-industrialisation?
  4. Links with taxation. In many continental European countries, revenues from social security contributions match or even exceed revenues from income and consumption taxes, thus constituting a third pillar of governments’ revenues. In addition, since the 1990s, double income taxes have been introduced in several European countries, which implement different taxation of labour income (personal and progressive) and capital income (real and proportional). What are the political, economic and social consequences of a high tax burden on labour income? How can the tax wedge debate be historicised? What has been the role of the cost of labour in the process of European construction and integration?
  5. The consequences of policies addressing the cost of labour on the level of wages, the functioning and segmentation of the labour market, working times, immigration, unemployment, inflation, inequalities, productivity, industrial policy, technological investment and the financing of the welfare state.


How to apply

To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of the proposed paper (between 100 and 500 words) and a short CV by 21 July to Proposals will be reviewed and selected by the scientific committee.

Conference funds are available to support your accommodation and travel expenses. Please indicate when applying where you are coming from.

Organisation: Giacomo Canepa (Scuola Normale Superiore, Sciences Po Center for History (Sciences Po, CHSP), Université Franco-italienne)

Scientific committee: Eloisa Betti (Università di Padova), Paolo Bozzi (Humboldt Universitat), Giacomo Canepa (Sciences Po Center for History (Sciences Po, CHSP), Scuola Normale Superiore, Université Franco-italienne), Federico Del Giudice (Scuola Normale Superiore), Giacomo Gabbuti (Scuola superiore Sant’Anna), Bruno Settis (Università di Bologna, Université Franco-italienne).

Working languages: English and French. Slides must be in English.

Complete digitization of La Vanguardia (1894-1930), official newspaper of the Socialist Party of Argentina

2 months 1 week ago

The CEHTI is proud to announce that it has completed the digitization of La Vanguardia, the official newspaper of the Socialist Party of Argentina during its initial period from 1894 to 1930!


With the conclusion of the digitization project of La Vanguardia, from its inception in 1894 until 1930, the Centro de Estudios Históricos de los Trabajadores y las Izquierdas (Center for Historical Studies of Workers and the Left, CEHTI) marks a significant milestone in its efforts to incorporate and disseminate crucial historical sources related to the left, the working class, and social movements in Argentina.

Since its foundation, the CEHTI decided to contribute to expanding the open-access digital archive of historical sources, adhering to the principles of public heritage. This means ensuring that these documents are accessible to the public without any bureaucratic or financial obstacles.

The digitization of La Vanguardia became possible due to the generous contribution of hard copies held by the Partido Socialista Auténtico, approximately six years ago. The voluntary work of digitization was carried out by CEHTI members in Rosario, who transported the 120 volumes from Buenos Aires, prepared the materials, digitized and edited them. CEHTI volunteers in Buenos Aires later uploaded them to our website. This immense collaborative effort spanned over five years and resulted in a final edited work comprising around 1.2 TB of data.

This independent endeavor was further supplemented by invaluable resources provided by trade unions and academic organizations such as the Rosario local of Santa Fe’s teacher’s union (AMSAFE), the Rosario Oil Workers’ and Employees' Union (SOEAR), the Rosario local of the CTA Autónoma, the trade union of bank workers, the Rosario City Council, the Fundación Estévez Boero, and the organization Igualdad y Participación, among others. Additionally, hundreds of individual contributions were received, which enabled the acquisition of the necessary equipment for digitization. We express our sincerest gratitude to all those involved.

The CEHTI will continue its work, undertaking new digitization projects. If you would like to support us, we invite you to join us by donating resources and materials. This will help us further consolidate and expand our documentary center, which includes archive, library and newspaper collection, and contribute to public access to an increasing number of books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, flyers, and historical sources.

CfC: Nested internationalisms: New Perspectives on Labour Activism Across Borders and Boundaries

2 months 1 week ago

Call for contributions

We seek proposals for chapters to be included in the volume “Nested internationalisms. New Perspectives on Labour Activism Across Borders and Boundaries” to be published in the series on Labour in History and Society of Palgrave MacMillan. This book spurs from two conferences, one which took place in Ghent in June 2022 on nested internationalisms, and one which took placed in Rome in October 2022 on ILO and networks of labour. It is edited by Francesca Piana, Donald Weber, and Susan Zimmermann.

The books aims to:

  • advance new, inclusive perspectives on transnational labour activism via moving beyond single-organization studies, including less formalized activist networks and transgressive activisms, expanding the concept of activism and the scope of activities covered, and moving marginalized actors and groups of actors to centre stage;
  • study classic themes of transnational labour activism such as labour rights, occupational diseases, or workplace discrimination together with migration policies, gendered equality, peace movement, and antiracist advocacy, showcasing the entanglement of agendas, and demonstrating how connection, interaction and competition between different movements, networks and organizations impacted the historical development of labour activism;
  • adopt a global geography which not only transcends Eurocentrism but also examines exchanges and connections in local, national, regional, inter-imperial, and postcolonial spaces.

We’d be delighted to receive abstracts of approximately 500 words and a short CV by August 15, 2023. We’ll notify you regarding the fit of the proposed chapter for the volume ASAP. In case of acceptance, the draft chapter is due by November 1, 2023 and will go through internal and blind peer-review.

Send submissions to:

CfP: Unstable stability? Working class-life and the world of work in East-Central Europe after 1989-1990

2 months 1 week ago

Call for papers of the working group
Workers, Labour and Labour History in Modern Central-East-Europe
5th ELHN Conference 11-13 June 2024 in Uppsala

Unstable stability? Working class-life and the world of work in East-Central Europe after 1989-1990

The political regime changes of 1989/90 and the rapid restructuring of the planned economies, also referred to as “shock therapy” in the 1990s radically transformed not only the political, economic and social relations in Central and Eastern Europe, but also the structure and functioning of everyday life. While the state socialist countries were ruled by political dictatorships, the Communist regimes maintained not only universal employment but also a welfare state, which covered free education and health care, the generous support of high culture and community building and a wide range of state-run childcare institutions. These achievements were, of course, used to legitimize the rule of political dictatorships and were even regarded as a “compensation” for the loss of political freedom.

The system change fundamentally transformed the great structures of social life such as the political and economic spheres, the electoral systems and the distribution of wealth and property. The population became divided to the groups of “losers” and “winners”, and the 1990s also produced rapidly rising social inequalities alongside the dismantling of the “prematurely born” welfare state. The appearance of new industries driven by multinational capital and the creation of new capitalist classes were accompanied by processes of de-industrialization, the decline of traditional industries such as mining and metallurgy, the establishment of new social ghettoes in the place of former factory towns and the experience of unemployment and new poverty.

The demise of the socialist working classes undoubtedly meant a lasting trauma in many families, who had neither the resources nor the opportunities to adapt to the requirements and challenges of the new, capitalist regimes. Indeed, critical anthropologies even called the workers in the region the “new subaltern class”, whose life circumstances and life chances were largely neglected in the new, “postsocialist” literature.

Labour in the Global South has attracted formidable interest in the recent decades. However, the Eastern European experience has remained an “uneasy” topic as the former Communist regimes still pose a theoretical and ideological challenge to many Western left-wing thinkers. East-Central Europe deploys many characteristics of the peripheral integration into the capitalist world economy (e. g. the outsourcing of whole industries to the East, intensive labour migration to the West), yet it is still seen as an “unstable” part of the European political and economic integration. It is certainly not part of the Global South, but it still remains at the periphery of the Global North.

We invite papers, which engage with labour and working-class everyday life in post-1989 Eastern Europe, from a multifold perspective. We welcome contributions from the field of history, social and political anthropology, economic and gender studies. What rendered the Eastern European socialist experience specific in global history? How can we interpret the working-class experience of the “transition” years from a critical angle? How can historical anthropology assist critical theory in global labour history? Is there anything that we can learn from the state socialist past? How has the everyday life of workers changed in the decades following the regime change of 1989/90?

Open Call for Proposals – Deadline: September 30, 2023

How to submit proposals

Please send an abstract (max 300 words) and a short bio (max 100 words, including contact details and an indication of whether you plan to participate onsite or online) to the WG coordinators, by September 30, 2023.

WG coordinators:

CfP: Working-Class Anti-Imperialism, the Global Left and Beyond

2 months 1 week ago

European Labour History Network (ELHN) conference
University of Uppsala, 11-13 June 2024

Labour & Empire Working Group – Call for Papers

“Working-Class Anti-Imperialism, the Global Left and Beyond”

In the wake of the one-day conference “Working-Class Anti-Imperialism and the Global Left: New Directions of Study” held at the University of Bristol on 30 June 2023, our working group is eager to further explore the rich and complex questions debated on that day.

Inspired by new imperial history, global labour history, post-colonial studies, and the transnational turn more generally, we seek to present panels that revisit the imperial experience from below, examining the part played by workers in the rise, persistence and fall of empires (both formal and informal, both continental and maritime), from the 1870s to the 1970s.

International organisations, in particular those populated by socialists, communists, anarchists and syndicalists, had an important role to play in the global formation of anti-imperial movements. At the same time, in some occasions they represented an obstacle or a factor slowing down the growth of anti-imperialism. With this in mind, a first broad topic we want to discuss is the formation of anti-imperialism outside organised labour organisations. We seek papers that innovate our usual geographical patterns, tracing connections both within the same imperial entity or trans-imperially. We want to explore anti-imperial activism aimed at and promoted by all kind of workers (industrial labour, peasantry, domestic labour and so on), active in public and private spaces, and employed across the various contractualised, coerced and indentured forms adopted in empires in the 19th and 20th centuries. A focus on south-south connections and on the transfer of antiimperial ideas and practices from the colonies to the metropole will be especially welcomed.

A second topic we want to explore is the self-representation of workers across lines of class, gender, race, language and ethnicity. How did workers taking part in antiimperial activism describe themselves? How relevant was their own selfidentification in the definition of their anti-imperial political activism? Were, for example, whiteness or blackness, masculinity or femininity, language, national and ethnic belonging deciding factors in seeking solidarity and collaboration across national and imperial lines? Critical reflections seeking to deconstruct strategies of self-identification deployed by groups, organisations or individuals proactive in antiimperial movements will be at the centre of our analysis.   

The convenors welcome 250-word proposals for papers which address one or more of the following themes:

  • Anti-imperial activism outside organised labour;  
  • Transnational and international movements, particularly those concerned with race-based and gender-based activism (e.g. Pan-Africanism and feminism);
  • Globe-trotting subaltern activists in imperial, colonial, and postcolonial contexts;
  • Alternative geographies of radical anti-imperialism;
  • Gender, productivity and anti-imperialism; 
  • Anti-imperialism among coerced and indentured workers;
  • Racialised immigration regimes, with a particular focus on movements that supported or opposed race-based immigration laws;
  • The internationalisation of the labour question;
  • Trans-imperial relationships between anti-imperial movements and transfers of ideas and practices from the colonies to the metropole; 
  • The consumer-centred forms of resistance to imperialism in the South and its relation with the production and circulation of goods;
  • Domestic labour and resistance to empire in the private space;
  • The self-representation of workers within anti-imperial movements;
  • Patterns of solidarity and collaboration across racial, class, gender, national and language lines in global anti-imperial movements. 

Proposals should be submitted to by 31 August 2023.

Papers should focus on either the 19th or 20th century (or both). They can focus on any geographic location, but proposals that are decentred and/or written from the perspective of the global South in colonial and postcolonial contexts are particularly welcome. The organisers will promote the publication of a selection of the papers as an edited volume or as a special issue in a leading journal of the field (more details TBA).

For more information about the ELHN Labour&Empire group and its activities, please visit:

CfP: Mining and Agriculture relationships: Influences on labour organisation and labour markets

2 months 1 week ago

5th Conference of the European Labour History Network (ELHN)
Uppsala, June 2024

Working Group “Labour in Mining”

Session: Mining and Agriculture relationships: Influences on labour organisation and labour markets

Coordinators: José Joaquín García Gómez (Universidad de Almería,, Aron Cohen Amselem (Universidad de Granada, and Miguel A. Pérez de Perceval (Universidad de Murcia,

The historical relationship between mining and agriculture is long and multifaceted. Both economic sub‐sectors are part of the primary sector and are based on human exploitation of the natural environment, both mineral and vegetable.

As a consequence, agriculture and mining often share a physical environment, which they often compete with each other in various ways. Both sub‐sectors share space, financing, infrastructure and, especially, labour markets. They are developed in places that depend on specific characteristics: mineral resources in the first case and soil endowments, water resources and climate mainly in the second. The difference lies in the greater time constraints of mining, which exploits non‐renewable resources. It is normal for mining activity to have an impact on agricultural areas, influencing each other in different ways. Historical mining has until recently been (and still is in some areas) labour intensive, so there is a heavy dependence on the labour market, both for unskilled and more skilled labour (which is still the case). The initial source of supply was the agricultural environment, with many mining centres characterised by dual work, organised in different ways. The previous structures or customs of the area where extraction took place had a different but important influence on the new forms of labour organisation, the use of child or female labour. The degree of women's participation in mining has been shown to be closely related to this earlier substratum and to the conditions under which mining evolved in its early stages.

The demand for employment in the mines, which in some areas generated important migratory movements, altered the working conditions in the areas where it was introduced, leading to conflicts with the previous economic activity. In some parts of Europe, it was even proposed in the 19th century to temporarily stop working in the mines during periods of peak agricultural activity. The strategies of the mining companies were to ensure the supply of workers, so they developed strategies to fix and indoctrinate the workforce. Depending on the circumstances in which extraction took place, they could take advantage of the joint work of mines and agriculture or they could try to develop a specific working environment, adapted to the numerical and qualification needs of the exploitations. This is what happened in some basins where the dual worker was initially praised and later attempts were made to professionalise mine workers, separating them from the rural environment or from the lack of definition in which they could be found at times. The industrial paternalism of the mining companies was also at work here, in this effort to control, fix and train their employees.

Not only were factors related to the labour market and the supply of labour the only elements of labour interference. The new activity and the population centres that developed in the heat of the exploitation of the subsoil influenced and/or collided with the pre‐existing population, altering their situation to some extent. New demands for work, complementary employment possibilities, economic changes, interference with basic resources (mainly water and land), pollution (of people, animals or flora), cultural elements, violence (a characteristic of the past and present of these districts), etc. were factors that influenced the living conditions of the environment. Finally, the decline and closure of the mines is another element of influence that can translocate the economy of the districts where this activity was established.

The relationship between agriculture and mining has been analysed in numerous works, both by agricultural and mining history researchers. However, despite its importance, it has not been placed as the central focus of research or, at least, as the core of the debate on its historical evolution. This session aims to fill in some of this gap by exploring the influence of this relationship on the development of labour markets and labour organisation.

Deadline for submissions: 15th September 2023.

CfP ELHN Working Group Maritime Labour History

2 months 2 weeks ago


Dear colleagues
It is a pleasure to contact you to invite you to a new activity. The Maritime Labour History Working Group launches a Call for Papers aimed to send a proposal for panels at the Fifth ELHN Conference which will take place in Uppsala on 11-13 June 2024.

In this occasion, we propose to have at least four sessions, two of them in collaboration with other ELHN working groups.

We invite you to submit your proposals in the next weeks, so we can send a panel proposal. Deadline for your proposals is 6 September 2023.

(in collaboration with  Military Labour History Working Group)

Organizers: Christine de Matos (historian and writer,; Jordi Ibarz (Universitat de Barcelona,

The recruitment of men and women by armed forces (included the navies and air forces) in different countries at particular times has had varying effects on labour markets. When there is compulsory military service, or even an urgent large-scale voluntarism during times of war, a large segment of the population can be withdrawn from the labour market, often especially affecting the male population that can have corresponding effects on the employment of women. This affects the lives of recruits, families, and communities, the latter particularly including those that are conditioned by the imposition of strict and continuous forced recruitment systems. At the same time, conscription can reduce pressure on labour markets, significantly reducing the supply, and affect the professional careers of those who need to temporarily suspend their career progression. On the other hand, the period of military service may facilitate the learning of new useful skills that recruits can then take back into the labour market. These may have differing outcomes and impacts depending on class, gender, and identity.

Once forced military service ends, recruits may stay involved as reserves, which can limit an individual’s working conditions and labour autonomy. This was the case for the maritime industries (seafaring, fishing, shipbuilding, loading and unloading), where reserves were subjected to restrictions and threats to their freedom in hiring in other work or moving to another place.

Conversely, during times of peace or when there is no conscription, the military services may need to engage in the competitive labour market to attract new recruits. This includes attractive advertising across multiple media, emphasis on skills development, inclusion of education opportunities, and even the use of military merchandise. How such recruitment strategies have been approached has changed across time, for instance in gendered ways as more women have been encouraged to join the military services.

We therefore propose a panel of papers focused on the various dimensions of the relationship between military and maritime recruitment systems and labour markets. Comparative papers are especially encouraged, for instance comparing the situations in different countries or between services like the army and navy. We also welcome papers that discuss military service as labour by reflecting on the relationship between recruitment and the labour market, and on recruitment, intersectionality and the labour market.

(In collaboration with  Labour and Family Working Group)

Organizers: Luisa Muñoz-Abeledo (History-Department, University of Santiago de Compostela,; Erica Mezzoli (Universitat de Roma,

The aim is to reconstruct welfare levels in maritime communities by exploring women’s roles in fishing and other maritime activities and women’s contributions to family economies. We will consider case studies of coastal towns where fishing and maritime industries were significant economic activities, and also regional, national, and international studies. This session will link with two ELHN working groups, namely, Labour and Family Economy, and Working Group Maritime Labour History.

While gender approaches have begun to enrich maritime history in recent decades (Creighton and Norling, 1996; Muñoz-Abeledo, 2010; Colville, Jones, and Parker, 2015) further work must be done in order to create a more inclusive, realistic, and insightful history of labour and families in maritime communities. We will welcome papers that cover the following topics.

Women’s work in coastal Europe.  Women in maritime communities have performed a variety of jobs, from running businesses (especially as widows), to help their family economies with activities such as net-mending, shellfish gathering, selling fish, between others. They also work in fish processing plants.

Contribution of women in fishing and other maritime families. When men’s income was irregular -and during times of economic hardship- women’s jobs provided important income to sustain their families. Moreover, women often performed roles crucial to maintaining the household, such as childcare when men were away at sea. Here it is important to consider aspects of domesticity and the distribution of power between genders within the family and within wider socio-economic contexts.

Women’s public participation in maritime communities. Women have participated in labour associations since the first decades of the twentieth century. However, women historically had to struggle to be included in such groups, which were overwhelmingly male. Until the very end of the twentieth century, women played a secondary role in these associations.

(Maritime Labour History Working Group)

Organizers: Jordi Ibarz (Universitat de Barcelona,; Enric Garcia-Domingo (Universitat de Barcelona,

The maritime sector was one of the fields where industrialization had a stronger effect. Its impact not only affected economic and social aspects, but also socio-labour identities and cultures.

The maritime industries suffered, at a very early stage, the effects of liberalization on the organization of different sectors (seafaring, fishing, shipbuilding, port services, etc.), in labour relationships, and in the configuration trades and professions that were key in the process of economic, social and political modernization. The end of the Ancien Régime and the development of industrial capitalism caused crisis and problems due to the adaptation of workers and employers to the new productive contexts, and the formation of professional identities. Labour conflicts arise everywhere.

We want to study how seafarers adapted to the new labour markets, whether they integrated as skilled workers while retaining their old privileges or whether due to new technologies and work processes, they joined the ranks of unskilled workers.

Did the liberalization process in the maritime industries lead the workers towards a proletarianization? Did the sea workers have a place in the rise of the new middle classes and an important stratification within the new social groups? Can we really talk about downward and/or upward social mobility?

We call for proposals on the topic of the transition from gilds to trade unions, to the liberalization of sectors such as merchant marine, fishing, docking or shipbuilding, the development of new legislations on labour, liberalization and reformism, etc.

(Maritime Labour History Working Group)

Organizers: Eduard Page (Universitat de Barcelona,; Jordi Ibarz (Universitat de Barcelona,; Enric Garcia-Domingo (Universitat de Barcelona,

The concept of social mobility, which describes the processes that were perceived in modern societies of change of status and passage from one social group to another, can also be applied to maritime societies.

This may be the case of some professions such as coastal trade skippers, or boatswain, apparently subject to processes of social ascent and descent, from an intermediate position between the lower classes and the ruling classes. In the case of mates, shipmasters or ship engineers, the leap is from the world of maritime labour to the world of the liberal profession ashore. The accumulation of capital, contacts, and other circumstances, allowed masters and mates, for example, to settle on ports and to become ship agents, to prosper and to enter social and economic circles that elevated them from professionals to entrepreneurs.

It is also interesting to deepen inter-professional mobility between different sectors. For example, we can find movement between occupations and jobs in different sectors such as coastal trade and fishing, seafaring and dock working, or between the merchant marine and the military. The use of these mobility strategies, linked to pluriactivity, made it possible to overcome circumstantial crisis and to create, probably, and integrated and only body of sea workers that historians tended to tag as “fishermen”, “docker” or “sailor”, in a simplification that everyday seems more inadequate.

Jordi Ibarz (Universitat de Barcelona)
Enric Garcia-Domingo (Universitat de Barcelona)
Maritime Labour History Working Group Coordinators

CfP: Gender and History beyond Borders

2 months 2 weeks ago

9th Congress of the Italian Association of Women Historians (SIS)

Palermo, 20-22 June 2024

Call for panels

The 9th Congress of the Italian Association of Women Historians (SIS) will take place between 20 and 22 June 2024 at the University of Palermo.

As in previous editions, SIS aims for the Congress to be a venue for discussing the most topical research themes, approaches, and interpretations in women’s and gender history. In this edition particular attention will be given to comparative and interdisciplinary analyses and to extra-national and transnational perspectives over a broad timespan – from ancient to contemporary times.

The Congress aims to assess the state of research on women’s and gender history and, at the same time, to give visibility to emerging research perspectives in the field.
SIS invites scholars from Italy and other countries to submit proposals relating to a wide array of historical, geographical, environmental, political, social, and cultural contexts.

Proposals that allow for a dialogue with topics at the centre of the current public debate (also in non-European countries) from a historical perspective will be particularly appreciated.

By way of example, possible topics may include the following:

- gender orientations, non-binary sexualities, reproductive rights
- families, parenting, kinship
- demography, life stages, intergenerational relationships
- climate and environment
- mobility, migration, citizenship
- living, communicating, and opposing war
- formal and informal access to knowledge
- work and economic agency
- care and welfare
- presence, visibility, representation in the public space
- religious and political beliefs
- power, authority, leadership models
- preservation and transmission of historical memory

SIS warmly encourages early-stage scholars to participate. To support scholars from particularly troubled or disadvantaged contexts, SIS will provide a limited number of scholarships. No other expenses will be reimbursed.

Proposals are to be submitted to the Scientific Committee. Preference will be given to proposals organised in panels, as specified below. The panel coordinator may also present a paper in the same or in a different panel. The person acting as discussant may also present a paper in a different panel.

In selecting the panels, the scientific committee will pay particular attention to the clarity, internal coherence, and originality of the proposals, favouring those submitted by early-stage researchers and scholars who adopt interdisciplinary, extra-national, and transnational perspectives.

Instructions for the proposal of panels

Each panel will consist of three speakers and one discussant. The coordinator will briefly introduce the panel and may additionally present one of the three papers. An external person must be chosen as discussant.

The panel coordinator will be responsible for maintaining contact with the scientific committee of the congress also on behalf of the other panel members.

Each panel will last approximately two hours, which will be divided as follows: a 5-minute introduction, three 25-minute papers, and a 35-minute discussion inclusive of the discussant’s remarks (the last 5 minutes should be kept free to allow for the rotation of the following panel and movement from one panel to the next).

The languages of the congress are, in addition to Italian, English, French and Spanish.

Proposals must be submitted using the attached form (available on the SIS website by no later than 30 September 2023 to:

The list of the selected panels will be published on the SIS website and the coordinators will be contacted by the Scientific Committee by 20 October 2024.

For scientific and organisational information, please send an e-mail to

Scientific Committee: Eloisa Betti, Denise Bezzina, Sara Borrillo, Sandra Cavallo, Francesca Cenerini, Isabelle Chabot, Sylvie Duval, Ida Fazio (coordinator), Simona Feci, Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti, Elena Musiani, Raffaella Sarti, Elisabetta Vezzosi.

Les pratiques féministes de la radio et leurs contextes, 1975-2000

2 months 3 weeks ago



On Friday, October 20, 2023, the Archives contestataires are organizing a study day entitled "Les pratiques féministes de la radio et leurs contextes, 1975-2000" (Feminist radio practices and their contexts, 1975-2000), on the occasion of the digitalisation of two major feminist radio archives: the archives of the Radio Pleine Lune program (RPL, 350 audio cassettes) and the Remue-ménage program (RMG, 590 audio cassettes). The association has set up a valorization program with the aim of stimulating reflection on the use of these radio sources for writing the history of feminist movements, as well as creating spaces for encounters and dialogue between feminist activists and radio practitioners of different generations. The program began in 2021 with a round-table discussion on the use of sound sources in the history of social movements. It continued in 2022 with the production of four podcasts made by different groups from the Radio Pleine Lune archives, followed by a commemorative evening in the presence of two hosts of the RPL and RMG programs and the podcasts' producers.


Argument :


Our aim is to explore the particular function of radio in the feminist movements of the 1980s and 1990s. Using case studies, we'll be looking at how women appropriated radio as a means of dissemination, and how this appropriation served their struggles, modified their collective and individual paths, and opened up new horizons or, on the contrary, locked them into technical specialization.

If the 1980s and 1990s are sometimes presented as a period of ebb and flow for struggles, can the practice of radio act as an "abeyance structure", in the sense given to this expression by Verta Taylor(1), offering a framework for ensuring continuity between two cycles of mobilization, in a politically hostile context? Does access to these sources make it possible to criticize the successive "waves" of feminist historiography(2) ?

This period seems to be understood as a time of institutionalization of feminist struggles and professionalization of certain activists(3). To what extent is women's participation in free/pirate radio a means of appropriating a technique, and how can this technical apprenticeship be reinvested in a professional framework?

The feminist movements of the 1970s placed great emphasis on women's history (which had yet to be written) and on the need to bring women out of the silence4 to which they had been subjected. The feminist radio programs that emerged in this context made this a demand and a raison d'être. What kind of discourse has this broad opening up to women's voices produced?

The day will begin with an overview of the historiography of feminist movements, and examine the new possibilities offered by these radio sources for research. The morning's three presentations will look at the different contexts in which feminist radio practices emerged: the history of feminist movements, the history of radio, and the history of pirate radio in Switzerland in the 1980s. In the afternoon, we'll take a closer look at these practices through a series of case studies presenting different examples of feminist appropriation of radio.



(1) Taylor, Verta. « Social Movement Continuity: The Women’s Movement in Abeyance », American Sociological Review 54, no. 5, 1989. URL :


(2) Pavard, Bibia. « Faire naître et mourir les vagues : comment s’écrit l’histoire des féminismes », Itinéraires [En ligne], 2017-2 | 2018. URL :

(3) Kiani, Sarah. De la révolution féministe à la constitution: mouvement des femmes et égalité des sexes en Suisse (1975-1995), Lausanne: Antipodes, 2019, pp. 149-150. 

(4) Perrot, Michelle. Les Femmes ou les silences de l’Histoire, Paris : Flammarion, 1998.




Program under development. Organized by Géraldine Beck. With the participation of Géraldine Beck, Marc Colin, Ingrid Hayes, Sarah Kiani, Mathilde Leroy, Marie Sandoz and Anne-Christine Schindler.

Practical information: Friday, October 20, 2023 at Théâtre du Galpon, Geneva, 9am-5.30pm. Lunch will be provided. Registration:

As part of this program, a critical listening workshop with Juliette Volcler will take place on Saturday October 14 at the Forum Grosselin in Carouge. Further details to follow. Duration 1h30, at 14h or 16h. Registration:

CfP ELHN Working Group Labour and Family Economy: Labour and Old Age / Labouring Elderly

2 months 3 weeks ago

Call for Papers

WORKING GROUP Labour and Family Economy

Uppsala (Sweden, 11-13 June 2024)

Organizers:  Maria Papathanassiou (Department of History and Archaeology/ National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) - Beatrice Zucca-Micheletto (DiSSGeA, University of Padua)

Labour and Old Age / Labouring Elderly

The history of the old age and the elderly constitutes an integral, yet rather neglected, part of the history of the family economy and the history of work. It is crucial to our understanding and interpreting the division of labour within households and kin groups, the features, dynamics and functioning of family economies as well as of labour markets in the past.

Family patterns, the existence of multigenerational households, the chronological limits and the definitions of old age, all differed depending on space and time, and all significantly affected the relation between old age, labour, and family economy.

Our interest centers on three basic interrelated groups of questions:

  • Who belonged to the “elderly”, and what was the content of “old age” in past societies? How far did the chronological limits, the content, and in general the social meanings attributed to old age depend on social class and gender, and how did this affect the households’ division of labour as well as individual labour experience?
  • How did physical or mental inability, due to old age, affect the division of labor within households in the past? Who took care of the elderly, under what conditions, what did this care mean for the reallocation of time and how did it affect the division of labor among household members?
  • How far did those elderly who were generally able to work contribute to family economy? What were their work tasks within the household and why? How did age affect family division of labor and how did it interact with gender?
  • What about those without a family, those who lacked a family economy to rely on? Did communities, the authorities, the state take care of them and how? Did such a care mean that they were exempted from work, and if so under what circumstances?

Proposals may refer, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • the transfer of peasant property from the older to the younger generation under specific terms and its impact on the division of labor;
  • the old age and struggle for survival of life long service (despite service being ideally associated with youth);
  • the role of elderly in domestic industry, and proto-industry;
  • the impact of industrialization on the family and on the division of labour within it with an emphasis on old age;
  • the assignment of housework and of looking after infants and young children to the elderly and its gender specific dimensions;
  • the quality of work/ and the working time assigned/required to elderly people and possible comparisons with other age slots (f.e historical evidence on child labour in Europe shows that both children and the elderly often undertook the same simple and time-consuming tasks);
  • the role of elderly in migration context (f.e. we know that in the period of mass migration in Southern Europe parents often migrated living their children behind in the care of the grandparents / husbands often migrated leaving their wives and children behind in the care of the elderly);
  • the interaction between changes in labour relations due to old age and power relations within the household or in the broader context of a kin group;
  • the work of elderly people outside the family context (i.e. in charity institutions, hospitals, etc.)

Although early modern, modern, and contemporary Europe build our starting points, we very much welcome proposals regarding also other regions as well as earlier time periods.

Please send your proposal (max 500 words) and a short CV to: and by 10 September 2023 (EXTENDED DEADLINE).

Authors will get notified of their acceptance by 20 September 2023.

For more information please see: AND



CfP ELHN Working Group Workplaces Pasts and Presents: Layering and connecting space: a view from the workplace

2 months 3 weeks ago

Call for papers

ELHN Working Group Workplaces: Pasts and Presents
European Labour History Conference 2024

Layering and connecting space: a view from the workplace

We invite proposals for papers and themed sessions for the ELHN Conference on 11-13 June 2024 in Uppsala to be submitted by 15 August 2023. Please send a max. 400-words abstract of your proposal to Görkem Akgöz, or Nico Pizzolato, The proposal should include your name, surname, current affiliation, contact details, and paper title. 

The “spatial turn” – the shift from an idea of space as static to one in which it is continuously constructed – has generated increasing attention in the humanities and social sciences over questions of space and place in the last three decades. Scholars of labour and the workplace have long analysed and written about space, even if they have not theorised it particularly well. The idea that the study of work and labour needs to engage with the spatial has been only reiterated by trends in deindustrialization, post-industrial restructuring, globalisation, flexibilisation and precarity, and the rise of platform work. Mobility, circulation, flows, and networks have an evergreater significance in explaining how capitalism, labour relations, workplace cultures and organisational dynamics function. COVID-19 brought forth another reorganisation of work and space, which scholars are still discussing.

A vast literature has adopted a view from the workplace, pointing at how class, race and gender contribute to creating and transforming the uneven geographies of capitalism. In turn, workers try to reshape such geography through their own agency: social struggle is often a spatial struggle. Attention to the space of workers’ actions has contributed to the relativisation of the workplace and the boundaries between work and home. The connection between workplace and space is no longer a neglected territory. Questions of scale are paramount in this endeavour: they range from the spatial dynamics on the shop floor of a single plant to economic relationships between widely separated regions of the globe. Focusing on spatial dynamics at work allows us to maintain a multiscalar perspective that looks not only at the workplace transformations but also at the broader shifts within global and financial capitalism, and at the interrelations between different scales and locales. We believe it is urgent that labour studies articulate the study of production at the workplaces with the mapping of international fluxes, networks and connections.

We call for papers that benefit from the methodological insights offered by spatial history in the study of the workplace, and invite proposals for papers and roundtables addressing one or more of the following themes:

  • Forms of spatialisation organisation of the production process
  • The spatial dimension of labour relations in the workplace
  • Labour studies and trans-local connections
  • Networks, connections and linkages among workplaces
  • Circulation of ideas and technologies of production
  • The spatiality of labour organisation and workers’ resistance
  • Race, class, gender and the uneven geographies of capitalism

About the ELHN Workplaces: Pasts and Presents Working Group

The ELHN working group has existed since 2014, initially under the name “Factory History”. The change of name in 2021 reflected the growing contribution of scholars of workplaces other than the industrial one and acknowledges the contribution of scholars in fields other than history, in particular anthropology and geography.  The group is truly international and far-flung; it includes scholars at various stages in their respective careers and in a number of academic disciplines; it has assembled a solid library of working papers and primary materials; and it possesses an abundance of energy and vision. The group runs a digital platform for collaborative research exhibits. We also run a podcast series. If you would like to join us or receive news from the group, please email one of the coordinators at or

2 hours 21 minutes ago
Subscribe to Social and Labour History News feed