HomeAgencies and labour regulation in building sites

Agencies and labour regulation in building sites

Autorités et régulation du travail dans le champ de la construction

13th - 19th centuries

XIIIe - XIXe siècle

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Published on Friday, March 10, 2017 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

Through the historical process that western European societies have known since Middle age to the dawn of contemporary age, it has never been supposed that labour in the construction sector - although it is often acknowledged to have played a decisive role in economic - may have been decided, controlled and managed by several institutions that overlapped their influence. Public entities, intermediate organizations and private actors performed in different ways in the labour market, for instance by cooperating, competing, or even conflicting. Nonetheless, they all were involved in labour regulation and workforce organization. An interesting question relates to the nature of regulating authorities, of the overlapping of their competences and their strength, considering the different nature of labour in building sites (free, forced, organized)

Announcement

Presentation

Through the historical process that western European societies have known since Middle age to the dawn of contemporary age, it has never been supposed that labour in the construction sector - although it is often acknowledged to have played a decisive role in economic - may have been decided, controlled and managed by several institutions that overlapped their influence. Public entities, intermediate organizations and private actors performed in different ways in the labour market, for instance by cooperating, competing, or even conflicting. Nonetheless, they all were involved in labour regulation and workforce organization. An interesting question relates to the nature of regulating authorities, of the overlapping of their competences and their strength, considering the different nature of labour in building sites (free, forced, organized). Building sites are a privileged field for our structural questions, due to their importance in the economic sector, and to the abundance of publications at the European level in this field since 2000.

  1. Public entities. Whatever the nature of the territory structure (administrative, fiscal, judicial) on which we are located, since Antiquity public institutions had always decided to control the administration of their properties, from the most vast city to the smallest rural village. De facto, royal councils, ministries, academies, and judicial courts have always ruled built - and non-built – spaces pleading questions of public order, hygiene and security and including both architectural, urban and constructive considerations. Public authorities have been involved in the regulation of construction works in several respects (as legislators, contractors and even employers of forced laborers). While prioritizing the public interest, public authorities acted in different ways, for instance by focusing on fixing wages, sometimes in order to standardize hiring or firing, sometimes to define standard contracts of hire, sometimes to control professional and geographical mobility of workers. Particularly in the public domain, will the plurality of institutions, a priori competent, lead to conflicts or to the recognition of specialization? How did actors react? If there were space and means for negotiation between the actors and the public authorities, did this institutional pluralism give more possibilities for maneuver to actors?
  2. The "intermediate bodies" (communities, crafts, brotherhoods, unions, etc.). Irrespective of whether they were freely organized or regulated by statutes, the construction professions have benefited in many cases from an important power of self-regulation. The strength of professional groups - formalized or not, with hierarchical structures and quite decisive power - gives a priori to these communities the legitimacy to manage the organization of work for the affiliated. Do these associations defend a common interest or the private benefits of each member? Is the workforce part of this process? The solidarity shown is often paternalistic. How did the members of these groups perceive this labour regulation? In different historical periods, these professional associations became weaker. For example, under Turgot in France, the political principle of economic freedom leads the government to ban them, and to reduce their authority for a long time. One of the limits of the professional groups was certainly the aspiration to lock each of them into very specific competencies, i.e. through apprenticeships, licenses or bans. Have they ever been interested in regulating the mobility of labor? Did they only consider the workforce? We know the important movements of strikes in this sector at the end of the Ancien Régime and in the XIX century. How could these intermediate bodies, put on hold by the State, continue to play an active underground role?
  3. Enterprises and markets. Many situations acted in the world of construction, from the small family structure, reduced to a father and his children (or even only to the craftsman), to the industrial multinational companies that appeared in the nineteenth century. Since when and, importantly, how the enterprises have played a guiding role in the construction field? The geographical extension of the sites, their private, public or royal natures, the complementarity of associative competences, the ability to ensure financial advances, the entrepreneurial establishment of enormous structures are all important points to investigate the actions of business companies on markets, and in particular on the regulation of labor. Due to the nature of the construction sites, whose needs vary according to the seasons and the progression of the work, the workforce employed must have specific requirements to this sector (but not only): it must immediately be available, for temporary employment, by rapid turnover of workers. How did companies ensure the availability of manpower? How was mobility regulated and managed? How did the recruitment of workforce govern the (geographical and professional) dynamics of this mobility? Did it occur through migratory chains? What kinds of labor markets and which actors act in the building industry?

Submission guidelines

Papers focusing on any geographical ground are welcome on these topics

by the 15 of May 2017.

Please, send an abstract of 400 words (or 2500 signs) with a title, explaining your questioning and sources and a short bio with your institutional affiliation

to bernardi.philippe@wanadoo.fr, rcarvais@noos.fr and nicolettarolla@gmail.com

The colloquium will take place on the 2-4 November 2017

Scientific and organising commettee

  • Philippe Bernardi, Directeur de recherche CNRS, Laboratoire de médiévistique occidentale de Paris, Lamop (UMR 8589), université de Paris 1
  • Robert Carvais, Directeur de recherche CNRS, Centre de théorie et analyse du droit, CTAD (UMR 7074), université Paris-Nanterre
  • Nicoletta Rolla, Post-doctorante, CRH/EHESS

Brief bibliography on the topic

  • BERNARDI Philippe, Maître, valet et apprenti au Moyen Âge. Essai sur une production bien ordonnée, Toulouse, CNRS-Université Toulouse-Le Mirail, 2009, Collection Méridiennes, série Histoire et techniques.
  • BERTELS, Inge, “Building Contractors in late-Nineteenth-century Belgium: from Craftsmen to Contractors”, Construction History. 26, April 2012, p. 1-18.
  • BERTELS, Inge, DENEWETH, Heidi, HOREMANS, Boris & VAN DE VOORDE, Stéphanie, « Pour une historiographie de l'entrepreneur du bâtiment (1400-2000) », in Les temps de la construction. Processus, acteurs, matériaux: Recueil de textes issus du deuxième congrès francophone d'histoire de la construction. Fleury, F., Baridon, L., Mastrorilli, A., Mouterde, R. & Reveyron, N. (eds.). Paris: Picard, 2016, p. 1189-1999.
  • BETHUME, Kim, Gestion et entretien des bâtiments royaux dans les Pays-Bas autrichiens (1715-1794). Le Bureau des ouvrages de la cour, Bruxelles, Editions de l’université de Bruxelles, Coll. Etudes sur le XVIIIe siècle, 2001.
  • BOATO, Anna, Costruire « alla moderna » . Materiali e techniche a Genova tra XV e XVI secolo, All’Insegna del Giglio, Biblio. Di archeologia dell’architettura, Firenze, 2005.
  • BRUNO Anne-Sophie et ZALC Claire (ed.), Petites entreprises et petit entrepreneurs étrangers en France (XIX-XX siècle), Paris, Publibook, 2006.
  • CARVAIS, Robert, La Chambre royale des Bâtiments. Juridiction professionnelle et droit de la construction à Paris sous l’Ancien Régime, thèse de doctorat d’Etat en droit, Université de Panthéon-Assas (Paris-II), 2001, (à paraître aux éditions Droz).
  • CARVAIS Robert, GUILLERME André, NEGRE, Valérie et Joël SAKAROVITCH (eds.), Nuts & Bolts of Construction History. Culture,Technology & Society. Proceedings of the 4th International Congress on Construction History, Paris, Picard, 2012.
  • CASAMENTO Aldo (ed.), Il cantiere della città. Strumenti, maestranze e tecniche dal Medioevo al Novecento, Roma: Kappa, 2014.
  • CAVACIOCCHI Simonetta (dir.), L’Edilizia prima della Rivoluzione industriale secc. XIII-XVIII, Atti della « Trentaseiesima Settimana di Studi », Istituto Internazionale di Storia Economica « F. Datini », Prato (Italie), Le Monnier, 2005.
  • CHAUVIN Sébastien, Les agences de la précarité. Journaliers à Chicago, Paris, Seuil, 2010.
  • CHATEAU-DUTIER, Emmanuel, Le Conseil des bâtiments civils et l'administration de l'architecture publique en France dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle (1795-1848), thèse Histoire de l’art, Paris EPHE, 2016.
  • CLARKE Linda, Building Capitalism. Historical Change & the Labour Process in the Production of the Built Environment, London, Routledge, 1992.
  • COMET Catherine, « Capital social et profits des artisans du bâtiment : le poids des incertitudes sociotechniques », Revue française de Sociologie, 49 (2007), p. 67-91.
  • CROUZET-PAVAN Elisabeth (dir.), Pouvoir et édilité. Les grands chantiers dans l’Italie communale et seigneuriale, Rome, Publications de l’École française de Rome, 2003, Collection de l’École française de Rome 302.
  • DECOMMER Maxime, Les architectes au travail. L’institutionnalisation d’une profession, 1795-1940, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, coll. "Art et Société", 2017.
  • DUC Marcelle, Le travail en chantier, Toulouse : Octarès, 2002.
  • ERIOLI Elisa, Falegnami e muratori a Bologna nel Medioevo: statuti e matricole (1284-1377), Bologna, Patron Editore, 2014.
  • HARISSON Casey, The Stonemasons of Creuse in Nineteenth-Century Paris, Newark, University of Delaware Press, 2008
  • GAROFALO Emanuela (dir.), Le arti del costruire. Corporazioni edili, mestieri e regole nel Mediterraneo aragonese (XV-XVI secolo), Palermo : Edizioni Caracol, 2010.
  • IZQUIERDO ARANDA Teresa, La fusteria a la València medieval (1238-1520), Valence, Universitat Jaume I, 2014.
  • JOUNIN Nicolas, TOURETTE Lucie, Marchands de travail, Paris, Seuil, 2014.
  • Mc KELLAR, Elizabeth, The Birth of modern London. The development and design of the city. 1660-1720, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1999.
  • MARTINI Manuela, Bâtiment en famille. Migrations et petite entreprise en banlieue parisienne au XXe siècle, CNRS Éditions, collection Alpha, 2016.
  • MEUNIER Florent, Martin & Pierre Chambiges : architectes des cathédrales flamboyantes, Paris, Picard, 2015.
  • NEGRE Valérie, L’Art et la matière - Les artisans, les architectes et la technique (1770-1830), Paris, Classiques Garnier, coll. "Histoire des techniques", 2016.
  • MOCCARELLI Luca, “Wages and labour market in the building trade in 18th century Milan”, Jahrbuch fur Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 54 (2004), p. 61-81.
  • POTOFSKY Alan, Constructing Paris in the age of Revolution, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
  • Serra Desfilis Amadeo (dir.), Arquitectura en construcción en Europa en época medieval y moderna, Valence, Universitat de València, 2010.
  • VICTOR Sandrine, La construction et les métiers de la construction à Gérone au XVe siècle, Toulouse, éditions Méridiennes, FRAMESPA, 2008.
  • VROOM Wim, Financing Cathedral Building in the Middle Ages. The Generosity of the Faithful, Chicago, Chicago University Press, [1981] 2010.
  • WOODWARD Donald, Men at Work: Labourers and Building Craftsmen in the Towns of Northern England, 1450 - 1750, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Places

  • Congrès de l'European Labour History Network - Association Française pour l’Histoire des Mondes du Travail (AFHMT)
    Paris, France (75)

Date(s)

  • Monday, May 15, 2017

Attached files

Keywords

  • histoire de la construction, ELHN 2017

Contact(s)

  • Robert Carvais
    courriel : rcarvais [at] noos [dot] fr
  • Nicoletta Rolla
    courriel : nicolettarolla [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Philippe Bernardi
    courriel : bernardi [dot] philippe [at] wanadoo [dot] fr

Information source

  • carvais robert
    courriel : rcarvais [at] noos [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Agencies and labour regulation in building sites », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, March 10, 2017, https://calenda.org/398542

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