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Tue 11 June
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    14.00 - 15.30

Wed 12 June
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    16.00 - 17.30

Thu 13 June
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Fri 14 June
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Tuesday 11 June 2024 14.00 - 15.30
A138 -2 COE1 Historical semantics of coercion
SAL 32.1
aaaaLabour and Coercion Working Groupbbbb
Network: Labour and Coercion Chairs: -
Organizers: - Discussant: C. Uppenberg
M. G. Blasi : Replacing Chinese Migrants: Spanish Racialized Discourses on Immigration to Cuba and the Philippines (1847-1898)
Replacing Chinese Migrants: Spanish Racialized Discourses on Immigration to Cuba and the Philippines (1847-1898)

T. Guiffard : Disciplinary order in war factories : Forms, practices and grammar of discipline in Lyon and Turin between 1914 and 1918
The subject of his paper is the question of the wartime labour discipline. The militarization of factories starting from 1914 onwards led to numerous and deep transformations in industrial relations (between workers and management) and among workers themselves (male and female workers, foreigners, prisoners). In order to demonstrate the social ... (Show more)
The subject of his paper is the question of the wartime labour discipline. The militarization of factories starting from 1914 onwards led to numerous and deep transformations in industrial relations (between workers and management) and among workers themselves (male and female workers, foreigners, prisoners). In order to demonstrate the social transformation complexity in the war period, it choses to focus on a European comparison between the Rhône department and the Turin Provincia. These two important industrial areas of the second industrialization wave were radically reshaped under the effects of the war economy implementation. Their local economic actors were forced to deal with a new and particularly invasive player arrival: military authority (military authorities, supervision officers in war industry, state representatives). New domination relationships emerged : punishment and penalties became part of the dynamics of an industrial war. Faced with productivity and patriotic injunctions, workers, whether mobilized in the army or not, adapted their resistance practices. More specifically, the paper will study the « Eigensinn » adopted by workers who tried to avoid new and heavy constraints now required by war effort on labour production sites. But they were also constantly subjected to talks and propaganda from all sides of the political spectrum about the importance of war effort.

This paper aims therefore to study both labour coercion and the forms of voluntary work during this exceptional context of labour mobilization. It intends to explore the social relations arising from this coercion, but aims also at catching the workforce mobilization through consent, and all the forms of mobilization forms implemented by war authorities. This mix of collaboration, forms of voluntary servitude and coercion questions the place and real effect of these war politicies and discourses on workers. Through the study of labour court and military administration sources, it considers the First World War as an incubator for both a shared with trade unions social regulation and a new disciplinization of labour.
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N. Kindersley : ‘As awkward as possible’: resistance to forced work in South Sudan, 1898–date
South Sudan today is still one of the last frontiers of capitalism and enclosure, where farm workers balance self-reliance, mutuality, and the market, and herders sing songs against the cash economy. Paid work, forced labour, and enslavement are historically and linguistically intertwined here; for example, the Malual Dinka term for ... (Show more)
South Sudan today is still one of the last frontiers of capitalism and enclosure, where farm workers balance self-reliance, mutuality, and the market, and herders sing songs against the cash economy. Paid work, forced labour, and enslavement are historically and linguistically intertwined here; for example, the Malual Dinka term for paid work in the 1970s was loony, which also meant slavery, and today the term used for wage labour is the old word for servant. But among histories of war, rebel movements, famines and displacement in this region, there is very little written about this popular history (and vernacular theory) of coercive labour relations.

This paper reconstructs a contemporary history of these labour systems in South Sudan, exploring how – since its formalisation in 1898, to present – successive violent states have attempted to discipline a small, exploitable labour force out of communities who had resisted generations of slave raiding. It is based on a timeline of strikes, non-compliance, disappearances, and ‘making trouble’ for management built from thousands of documents in the recently-opened South Sudan National Archives, alongside collected songs, poems and conversations from across South Sudan since 2017.

This work is part of a new project leading to a 2024-25 ISRF early-career fellowship at the University of Juba, working alongside South Sudanese university colleagues who (like myself) have been taking extensive strike action recently. This project is interested in theories about forced work, and the future of ‘good work’, produced within supposedly ‘surplus’ populations falling outside of industrialising and post-industrial economies (Slobodian et al. 2022, Ferguson & Li 2018). The paper seeks to lay the groundwork for this project by exploring historical patterns of coercion and resistance to paid work over the twentieth century, as the slave market turned to a labour market in the Nile Valley.
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J. Spicksley : Abusive authority and the language of slavery: revisiting the sclavus in medieval Europe
In his History of Rome, written at the end of the first century BCE, Livy compared the cruelties practised by the Rhodians on the Lycians with the treatment of mancipia argento parata, unfree people who had been bought with money. Here Livy brought a term used to describe sanctioned forms ... (Show more)
In his History of Rome, written at the end of the first century BCE, Livy compared the cruelties practised by the Rhodians on the Lycians with the treatment of mancipia argento parata, unfree people who had been bought with money. Here Livy brought a term used to describe sanctioned forms of ownership - mancipia - into a critique of political power and socio-economic relations. If at first this appears to be about experience – the similarly abusive treatment of the two groups in question – it signals a polysemic use of language that was to become problematic in the medieval world.
Evidence of the violent capture and sale of free people for profit litters the history of the medieval period. As the raiding of communities became commonplace the polysemic qualities of existing social descriptors appear to have become insufficient to the task. The result was the creation of several new descriptors, including the Latin sclavus, from which the various European versions of the ‘slave’ would later be drawn. It is within this context that I reassess the emergence and use of the language of slavery, which begins with the medieval Latin term sclavus. I argue that this term did not follow from a softening of medieval bondage that required the ‘slave’ of the ancient world to be brought back into view. Instead it represented a breakaway from the language of that world. The sclavus - and the ‘slave’ it created – opened up a new way to signal the abusive subjection of the free as part of a critique of the misuse of authority.
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T. Vidal : Sub-text and subordination: unpacking practices and semantics of agricultural labour in late-medieval Northern Italy
The period spanning from the late 1100s to the 1350s was characterized by major changes in agricultural lease contracts and labour organization. The shift from long-term and customary leases to short-term contracts did not necessarily result in a widespread mobilization of land and the opening of a market of leases, ... (Show more)
The period spanning from the late 1100s to the 1350s was characterized by major changes in agricultural lease contracts and labour organization. The shift from long-term and customary leases to short-term contracts did not necessarily result in a widespread mobilization of land and the opening of a market of leases, rather it embedded and underpinned new forms of labour organization that can be safely labelled as ‘capitalist’. While there is a certain scholarly consensus on the fact that sharecropping contracts perfectly fit this narration and were indeed a form of labour organization, other forms of labour deployment and labour relations are still unevenly studied.

With my contribution I will try to shed light on agricultural labour organization in Norther and specifically North-eastern Italy between the 1200s and the 1400s. Contrary to central Italy, where sharecropping contracts were ubiquitous, here fixed-rent was still the main and preferred contractual form. Evidence from contracts, statutes and everyday practices is unanimous characterizing the new short-term contractual forms as actual labour contracts.
Such relevant modifications, that involved contracts, everyday labour organization and, most importantly, lawmaking, should not be divorced from the development of new semantics of labour that could fit into the new context. Statues and law in particular offer a perfect observatory to analyse the development of semantic and political discourse underpinning the coercion and subordination of peasant. Using a textual and critical approach on a sample of statutes from Northern Italy (from Piemonte to Friuli) I will try to demonstrate how the landowning élite embedded both new notions and institutions of labour coercion and organization but also long-standing sub-text of peasant subordination into a semantic system that underpinned and justified coercion.
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