CfP: Living conditions in mining towns in history

Call for papers, deadline 5 September 2018

Third Conference of the European Labour History Network (ELHN)
Amsterdam, 19-21 September 2019
Working Group “Labour in Mining”

Call for Papers for a Session “Living conditions in mining towns in history. Labour, production, workers’ organizations, institutions”

Coordinators: Leda Papastefanaki (University of Ioannina & IMS/FORTH,, Miguel Á. Pérez de Perceval Verde (University of Murcia,, Francesca Sanna (Paris Diderot University, ED 382, UFR GHES, Lab LIED,

Mining settlements are linked to the resources existence, changing along centuries, so many of them were configured and evolved within specific exploitations.

The industrial revolution and its demand for metals and energy revolutionised the use of mineral reserves of the underground and favoured the consolidation of mining areas. This happened in a moment in which the urbanisation process was being strengthened, with its problematic and consequences. It was a complex process that was influenced by many variables. In the case of mining it had a harsher effects on the living conditions of the population, which was not only adapted to the particular underground work or in opencast mines, but it had to be adjusted to a towns with difficulties for housing, sanitary infrastructures, goods´ supplying, etc., and even to an environmental contamination as a result of the extraction and the systems used in the selection and concentration of the ores. In many of them we find a high mortality and morbidity, nutritional problems, sanitary deficiencies and a social, particular climate characterised by social tensions.

The study of living conditions in the mining activities is linked to the analysis of the characteristics of its population nuclei and the way in which they were adapted to the necessities of a population with a high grade of mobility. The arrival of big contingents of workers provoked several difficulties to absorb them with the housing and sanitary infrastructures dotation and this problem increased the morbidity and mortality levels in these nuclei. The configuration of the urban mining spaces was determined by multiple factors, related not only to the characteristics of the extractive activity, but the organisation of the companies, the labour market, the workers’ organisation, the relationship with the responsible of the local governments.

This session invites researchers not only to do a quantitative analysis, but to relate production, labour, demographic and social variables, with the aim to try to understand the special conditions which determined the characteristics of mining nuclei.

Deadline for abstracts submissions

Please send an abstract (max. 400 words) before September 5th, 2018. The outcome of the selection will be communicated by October 2018.

How to apply

Please send an abstract (max. 400 words) and a short academic CV (max. 400 words) to The proposal should include name, surname, current affiliation and contact details of the proponent. The subject of the email needs to be: “Living conditions in mining towns in history_ELHN2019”. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us.


The Third Conference of the European Labour History Network (ELHN) will take place on 19-21 September 2019 in Amsterdam, in the International Institute of Social History.
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