Towards a History of the Unemployed

Towards a History of the Unemployed

Society for the Study of Labour History
Institute of Historical Research
United Kingdom
From - Until
01.10.2005 -
Perry, Matt

Unemployment is a characteristic part of the working-class experience and a specific form of poverty that arose with the emergence of industrial capitalism. The distress associated with mass unemployment troubled governments and social reformers alike. Unemployment was the subject of social investigation and new forms of relief. Reconstructing the experiences of the unemployed pose social historians particular problems as does deciphering the cultural representations of the unemployed.

Labour Movements across the globe have been principally concerned with the organization of those in work. Yet a number of notable figures in working-class movements - Louise Michel, William Morris, Tom Mann, Ellen Wilkinson, Wal Hannington, Walter Ulbricht, Charles Tillon, Sylvia Pankhurst and Harry McShane – have been associated with these protests. In many countries the unemployed have periodically – for example the 1880s, the interwar years, 1980s - been engaged in protests and organizations of their own. These fitful social movements of the unemployed find their latest expressions in the European Marches for Jobs, the French unemployed protests of 1997-8, and the Argentinian piqueteros.

This conference is intended to draw together the latest research into these movements and experiences.

Themes will include:

o Cultural representations of the unemployed
o Movements of the unemployed, movements against unemployment
o Women’s experiences, gender and the unemployed
o The unemployed and labour movements
o Government and employer responses to unemployment

To get further details and register by email or Richard Croucher: to by post Matt Perry, ADMC, University of Sunderland, Priestman Building, Green Terrace, Sunderland SR1 3PZ.


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