WG Labour in Mining

Amsab-ISH FO.014541
Coal miners waiting to descend, Limburg, 1950s

Mission

The EHLN working group Labour in Mining aims at creating and expanding existing, more or less formal and informal contacts and networks of scholars with an interest in labour in mining sector in Europe and around the world. The WG wishes to exchange knowledge, to organize meetings and workshops, to organize and design collective projects, and to participate with sessions in the ELHN Conferences.

Scope

Mining has special characteristics not only for its kind of jobs (typically in the underground), its morbidity and workplace accidents, its location linked to the existence of resources and migratory phenomena, the high potential for conflict and harsh working conditions. Its peculiarity has given to labour markets of the sector a kind of isolation in relation to other productive activities. These characteristics have given a particular evolution, reproducing itself internally (through the own families), and perpetuating cultural moulds that have continued along time. The study of the evolution of the labour relations in mining is useful not only for knowing the transformations of  labour in this sector, but also for elaborating more our knowledge of labour history in general, and in some labour markets, characterized by some grade of isolation, in particular.

We have a wide range of literature concerning labour activities in mining, both in the past and the present day. Although much has been done in the field of compiling sources and research, it is a topic that has suffered from a focus on the local scope and thus resulted in various clichés on miner's behavior. Furthermore, some elements have hardly been studied at all, for example: the role of women in the mines and the mining communities regarding the living conditions; the incidence of work related illnesses (silicosis, hydrargyrism, hookworm, lead poisoning, etc.). Moreover little has been studied about Europe's lack of vision about the sector as a whole regarding the evolution of the more relevant mining countries and hubs.

We would like to discuss research related to a broad range of themes and concepts in economic, social and cultural labour history of mining including but not limited to the following:

  • The intersection of class, race, gender, age, global inequality, etc. in labour in mining; Dual work (agricultural and mining), migrations, discrimination.
  • Labour relations: labour organisation, developing of the wage earner work, wages and remuneration systems, hiring and scientific organisation of labour.
  • Technological development and evolution of the job markets: from the steam to the electricity, from the gravimetric concentration systems to the differential flotation, the underground work and the open-cast work, labour problems, incidence in the health and conflicts, technological change and mining conjunctures.
  • Living conditions and inequality. Occupational health and safety in mining: mortality, morbidity, pollution and sanitary institutions.
  • Mining communities: characteristics, problems, urban penalty.
  • Strategies of the management, working movement, industrial paternalism, truck system, conflicts, trade unions.
  • Industrial archaeology of mining activities, immaterial patrimony, culture.
  • Archives of mining activities.

We wish to contribute in the relations between the researchers in this field, in the establishment of research lines and a frame to exchange information and knowledge, publications and other initiatives in this field. Moreover, we are offering a support to databases download and consultation on the mining labour, accesible for the Academy. We also aim at the exchange of knowledge about primary sources, archives, and literature related to the history of labour in mining.

Activities

Contact

Leda Papastefanaki, associate professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Ioannina, Greece and collaborate faculty member at IMS/FORTH, scientific responsible of the research project Mining Landscapes in Greece, 19th-20th c.  She has published on industrial and mining history, labour history and gender in Greece (19th-20th centuries).

Miguel Á. Pérez de Perceval Verde, professor of History and Economic Institutions at the University of Murcia and principal investigator of the project Business history, markets and productive development in contemporary Spanish mining. He has published on different aspects of work activity in the mines.

Francesca Sanna, PhD candidate in History at Paris Diderot University (ED 382, UFR GHES, Lab LIED). She works on scientific management in European mining industry. Graduated with a double MA in History (Paris 7 and Bologna University) and a Specialisation degree in Industrial Heritage Management (Padua University).

To contact the working group please use the PDF contact form attached below.

External links

http://lim.hypotheses.org

[last updated 2 July 2018]