CfP: New Approaches to the Global Mining History: the social effects of ore extraction

Call for papers, deadline 15 September 2021

XIX World Economic History Congress
25-29 July 2022, Paris, France
Call for papers for the session
New Approaches to the Global Mining History:
the social effects of ore extraction

Session organizers

  • José Joaquín García Gómez (University of Almeria)
  • Gérard Chastagnaret (Université d´Aix-Marseille)
  • Leda Papastefanaki (University of Ioannina & IMS/FORTH)
  • Ángel Pascual Martínez Soto (University of Murcia)

Please email proposals (maximum 500 words) and a short CV to Jose Joaquín García Gómez (e-mail: josejgg@ual.es) by 15th September 2021.

We would like to invite you to submit a paper proposal to the double session New Approaches to the Global Mining History: the social effects of ore extraction”, which has been accepted for the XIX World Economic History Congress, 25-29 July 2022, Paris, France.

Session theme

Resources extraction, of both metallic and energetic, has been essential for global economic development. Industrialisation meant an unprecedented increase in mine production since the mid-18th century, boosting not only the quantity but also the variety of resources extracted. This activity induced important alterations in the areas of ore extraction: it encouraged large migratory processes, led to the creation or consolidation of cities and townships, and altered people’s lives, the landscape and the environment.

Mining has always been a controversial activity, subject of quarrels when its detrimental effects eventuated. Resource extraction can lead to the appropriation of a non-renewable patrimony and cause socio-political divisiveness. It may produce different sorts of physical alterations, be highly contaminating and generate dangerous waste. This sector also displays relatively large rates of workplace accidents and morbidity. Even its contribution to economic development has been called into question by the Resource Curse literature, both at the regional and national level.

This session aims to bring together researchers working on the local impact of mining activities. It encompasses a broad range of topics, but preference will be given to contributions about the social effects of mining.

Studies analysing the different circumstances under which mining nuclei emerge and consolidate are highly welcome. The rise in production and the consequent labour demand attracted people not only from the surrounding regions, but also experienced and specialized workers from far away. Information on migrant workers’ backgrounds can shed light on the socio-economic, geographic and ethnic composition of township populations, and on recruitment tactics of mining companies. A related issue is the working class formation process in the new settlements; their (possible) racial divide and their main claims in each period and place.

The standard of living of workers in mining areas is another topic of interest. The creation of jobs often attracted large numbers of people who could not be adequately housed and fed, and settlements grew in a chaotic way. As a result of overcrowding, subsistence level wages and environmental degradation, living standards were often low and deteriorated. Only with government intervention including sanitary reforms in mining cities and the promulgation of social legislation did conditions improve. Papers focussing on environmental problems derived from mine extraction, conflicts around them and the implemented solutions are welcome, too.

Furthermore, the role of women and children in the mining sector, including their wages and working conditions, needs more attention. Women and children often had a fundamental role in the initial development of the sector, working underground and in the surface, doing auxiliary tasks, and supplying the population with food and services. They also played an important role in the stabilization and the reproduction of the mine labour force.

Deadline for submissions: 15th September 2021.

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19/07/2021