PhD Defence Announcement #1: Ariane Mak, EHESS

We are glad to inform our community that Ariane Mak, a member of LIM, is going to defend her thesis on the 25th of September 2018 at 14h in EHESS, Salle du Conseil A (salle BS1_28), 1er sous-sol, 54 boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris.

Here some information about Ariane’s Thesis.

Miners on Strike, Miners at War.
A historical ethnography based on Mass Observation’s coal mining surveys and oral history (1939-1945)

Supervisors: Alain Cottereau (EHESS), Laura Lee Downs (EUI)

During the Second World War, coal was essential to Britain’s war effort. Yet, in 1940-1944, the coal industry accounted for almost half of all strikes. Surprisingly, industrial relations studies have given little attention to the way ‘ordinary miners’ thought about militancy in wartime. Using thickly-textured empirical studies, this thesis unveils how these strikes were experienced and legitimized by the miners. It aims to explore these strikes from below, grounded in the daily life of mining communities. It asks: how did the conflict between patriotism and social justice express itself, both in the mine and at the pub? A central focus of the thesis is on the way the war disrupted the normative worlds and moral economy of miners on strike.

A first important avenue of research is centered on Order 1305 which outlawed strikes and criminalized strikers. This thesis starts by providing a detailed analysis of the ways Order 1305 was used and of the difficulties encountered by the ministries in prosecuting strikers. Using a little-known Mass Observation survey, it then provides a reassessment of the January 1942 strike at Betteshanger Colliery, Kent, which has come to symbolize the failure of Order 1305. It then turns to another untapped source: that of the protest letters sent to the Ministry of Labour and the Home Office in the aftermath of the Betteshanger miners’ trial.

This thesis then examines how the cry for fair wages became a burning issue for miners in wartime. It highlights the important role played by changing status and gender hierarchies in these claims. In this section, the thesis first turns to the 1942 strikes and to the South Wales pit boys’ strikes. It then pays particular attention to the comparisons made by striking miners with the munitions workers’ high wages. A new perspective on this issue is provided by the survey undertaken by Mass Observation in Blaina and Nantyglo, two Welsh mining towns where miners and munitions workers were close neighbours. They reveal how, within the mining communities, these claims for “fair wages” were connected to issues of consumption, morality, gender, and respectability. Finally, the thesis argues for the need to include Bevin Boys into our understanding of the 1944 Porter Award Strikes.

This thesis offers a “historical ethnography”, combining the following features: first, an analysis of Mass Observation mining surveys; second, a study of the research design and methods of these wartime surveys; third, 43 oral history interviews conducted with miners and Bevin Boys in the very mining communities studied by Mass Observation. In that sense, this thesis also contributes to the history of Mass Observation (1937-1949), which still constitutes a neglected episode in the history of British social sciences.


DEADLINES REMINDER – 3rd ELHN 2019 – Amsterdam

Our CFPs’ deadlines are approaching !!
5 september 2018 for the CFP “Living conditions in mining towns in history”
14 september 2018 for the CFP “Health Environment and Labour in Mining” (coorganized with the WG Occupational Health and Environmental Labour History )
You find our CFPs here :
Remember also the CFP : “Health down in the mine” for a seminar in Lewarde (North of France) deadline 9.09.2018
Don’t miss them!

CFP #3: Health, Environment and Labour in Mining

A new CFP for the Third Conference of the European Labour History Network (ELHN) (Amsterdam, 19-21 September 2019) !!

It’s a CFP for a joint session on “Health, Environment and Labour in Mining” organised by (us) the Working Group “Labour in Mining” and the Working Group “Occupational Health and Environmental Labour History (19th-21th c.)”

Deadline for abstract submissions is 14.9.2018.

here the CfP_Health, Environment and Labour in Mining_Joint session_ELHN 2019[6848]


Media #1 : Interview to our Coordinator, Professor L. Papastefanaki, abour Greek Miners and Communities

INTERVIEW | Leda Papastefanaki : The unknown history of Greek mines: social relations, public policies and the role of French companies

Leda Papastefanaki is Associate Professor of Economic and Social History in the Department of History Archaeology at the University of Ioannina (Greece). She is a member of the faculty of the Institute of Mediterranean Studies / Foundation for Research and Technology (IMS / FORTH, Rethymno, Greece).

Her research interests include the social and economic history of industrialization and labour, the social history of technology, mining history, the history of occupational health, urban history, gender history, industrial archaeology, Jewish history.

GreeceHebdo* interviewed Leda Papastefanaki about her latest book The Veins of the Earth: Mining in Greece, 19th-20th Century, published in Greek in 2017, to better understand the unknown history of mining in Greece, including social relations, public policies and political ideas related to this activity.

Read more via #grecehebdo:

Publication #3: Humos y sangre. Protestas en la cuenca de las piritas y masacre en Riotinto

New publication by emeritus professor Gérard Chastagnaret (in Spanish):

Gérard Chastagnaret, Humos y sangre. Protestas en la cuenca de las piritas y masacre en Riotinto (1877-1890), Publicacions de la Universitat d’Alacant, Alicante, 2017 (456 pages).

Minas de Riotinto, 4 de febrero de 1888 : miles de mineros y vecinos de los pueblos de alrededor se habían concentrado para manifestarse contra las calcinaciones de piritas al aire libre efectuadas por la Rio Tinto Company, calcinaciones cuyos humos tóxicos afectaban gravemente a la salud pública, la agricultura y el medio ambiente. Dos compañías del ejército, situadas entre la pacífica multitud, abrieron fuego sin previo aviso, causando probablemente cerca de doscientos muertos. El terrible balance, tergiversado por las autoridades, no tuvo equivalente en la Europa de aquel tiempo.
Basada en centenares de documentos inéditos, esta obra inserta la tragedia del “año de los tiros” en una década de luchas de las gentes del mundo rural y desentraña las estrategias y responsabilidades de los diferentes poderes: compañías mineras, políticos y expertos de toda índole. El conflicto y la masacre abren una reflexión sobre el funcionamiento del régimen de la Restauración y, en general, sobre las actitudes de las gentes y la totalidad de los actores frente a una catástrofe medioambiental.


Conference #1: WEHC 2018, Mining history papers and panels

Some mining related papers and panels scheduled in the next WEHC 2018  



Article Release #1 : Expansión minera y reforma liberal – España siglo XIX

Take a look to the :

“Expansión minera y reforma liberal. Peculiaridades de un cambio institucional en la España del siglo XIX“, Areas, Revista Internacional de Ciencias Sociales, 37, 2018, pp. 145-157

on liberal reform in spanish mining, just published by Andrés Sánchez Picón.

Open access here:

CFP #2 : Living conditions in mining towns in history

Our CFP for ELHN Amsterdam 2019  is available!


Check it CfP_Living conditions in mining towns in history_ELHN2019[5498] !!

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.
You can find the Working Group “Labour in Mining” in the web
Blog: Facebook: Labour in Mining – ELHN Working Group Twitter account: @LabourMining

Publication #2: Between the Plough and the Pick

A new interesting publication about Artisanal and Small scale mining in contemporary times.

Between the Plough and the Pick. Informal, artisanal and small-scale mining in the contemporary world, ed. by Kuntala Lahiri Dutt, Australian National University Press 2018.

This volume deepens our understanding of informal, artisanal and small-scale mining. It shows that the people who are engaged in informal or small-scale mining practices are often the poorest and most exploited labourers—erstwhile peasants caught in the vortex of global change, who perform the most insecure and dangerous tasks.

You can download the volume for free:…/between-plough-and-pick

CFP #1: “Health Down in the Mine” Lewarde – France

Subject : Health in Mining Industry

Historical period: n.s.

Institution: Centre Historique Mininer du Nord et Pas de Calais

Location: Lewarde (France)

Date:  4 – 5 april 2019

Deadline: 9 september 2018

Brief description:

The conference organised by the Centre Historique Minier, the largest mining museum in France, intends to draw on the abundant scientific literature already available on the issue of miners’ working conditions, with reference to various intertwining disciplines, in history (labour history, environmental history, history of medicine), and in social sciences across the board. The conference wishes to tackle this blind spot in research, namely the topic of health down in the mine, in its full historical context, including the healthcare systems, throughout the world of mining, which governed and organised the coverage of pathologies and injuries; the origins and development of these systems; the stakeholders operating them, the involvement or not of those they catered to; and lastly, the consequences of systemic organisation on the social fabric, especially on a local scale. (CFP)

The complete CFP here


Labour In Mining

This blog would like to be a space for communicate and share the projects of the new Working Group Labour in mining, born inside the European Labour History Network

The founding meeting of the ELHN took place at the International Institute of Social History (IISH) on 12 October 2013. The forty scholars who gathered in Amsterdam, belonging to research institutions, archives and journals based in various European countries, felt the need to increase the cooperation among labour history scholars, share knowledge and (digital) material, create a platform for future collective research, and organize conferences and seminars. The Network includes Europe-based scholars (professors, post-doc and PhD researchers, post-graduate students) but seeks to connect with scholars based outside Europe.
The 1st ELHN Conference was held in Turin in 2015 and 2nd ELHN Conference was held in Paris in 2017. In order to structure the network and overcome fragmentation, the key-role of working groups was underlined. Some working groups were proposed and took shape. Among others: Long term perspectives on remuneration; Pre-industrial Labour; Feminist Labour History; Industrial heritage and structural change; workers politics and social movements; Imperial labour history; Labour in mining.
The ELHN Working Group “Labour in Mining”
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.
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.
On the labour activities in mining, we have a wide literature in the past and in the present. It is a topic on which it has been done an important work compiling sources and research. But above all it suffers from having been focused in a local scope and having formed several cliché on the miner´s behaviour. Besides, there are some elements hardly studied. As some examples, the role of the women in the direct activities and in the preservation of the living conditions in the mining hubs; the incidence of professional illnesses (silicosis, hydrargirism, hookworm, lead poisonism, etc.) and, specially, a European´s lack of vision about the sector as a whole, relating 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.
The WG on “Labour in Mining” wish to exchange knowledge, to organize meetings and workshops, to organize and design collective projects, to participate with sessions in the 3rd ELHN Conference in Amsterdam in 2019 (19-21 September).

The coordinators of the Working Group are:
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 (, is 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).