CfP: ELHN Working Group Labour and Family Economy at the ELHN-WORCK Conference 2021

Call for papers, deadline 25 September 2020

Call for papers of the Working Group: Labour and Family Economy

ELHN conference 30 August to 3 September Vienna 2021

The ELHN Working Group Labour and Family Economy aims at developing a labour centered reflection on a classical topic in economic and social history: the historical forms taken by family economy in different economic, geographical and institutional contexts. We consider the family as an economic unit and its members’ labour and activities in a broad sense, including consumption patterns and the whole range of resources’ allocation and distribution within the family. Our aim is to broaden the scope of our discussion beyond labour history.

Coordinators of the WG: Manuela Martini (University of Lyon), Cristina Borderías (University of Barcelona)

The ELHN Labour and Family Economy Working Group invites papers for the session:

"In other people's households: children and youth as rural servants and live in apprentices in the past"

Organizer: Maria Papathanassiou (University of Athens)

Deadline to receive papers: September 25th 2020

Up to the early twentieth century in Europe a great, if (slowly yet steadily) decreasing, number of children, usually in their early teens, left their households of origin to live and work in other households, such as peasant ones in the countryside and craftsmen’s in urban centers, whereby minors would usually enter rural service and apprenticeship respectively.

Looking into the ways these households functioned as workplaces in the European past, through the lens of the history of childhood and youth and of age as a category of historical analysis, can shed a new light on family economy as a place of production and training, functioning along age (together with gender) specific labour hierarchies.

Papers may address: networks and labour markets through which minors entered rural service or apprenticeship; how children experienced transition and mechanisms that helped them adapt in the new environments; working conditions and their interaction with (young) age as well as gender or other factors; employers’ or adult co-workers’ attitudes, including abusive behaviour and its frequency; children’s dynamic position within labour hierarchies and their role in the formation of household labour relations; work as a form of training for the future, of preparation for adult working life and another position in the labour market; relations between household members in general and the place of minor rural servants or apprentices within them.

Comparisons between rural servants and live in apprentices (f.e. apprentices were generally under the age of majority, whereas this was not necessarily so with rural servants) could furthermore help us better understand similarities and differences between rural and urban labour markets as well as their interaction with household economies.

The history of rural and urban (in particular early modern and modern) Europe is our point of departure; yet papers on any (European and non European) geographical region and on any time period are welcome.

How to apply
Please send a 300 to maximum 500-word abstract and a short academic CV (max 500 word) to Maria Papathanassiou ( by September 25, 2020. 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 2021”. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact the organizer.

Time and Location 
The Fourth Conference of the European Labour History Network (ELHN) joint event of the European Labour History Network and the COST Action “Worlds of Related Coercions in Work” (WORCK), will take place, from 30 August to 3 September 2021, in Vienna, hosted by the Vienna University.

As there are uncertainties due to Covid-19, also indicate whether you would be willing to give your presentation via an online session.