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CfP: "Elsewhere. The Migration of Families in the Past from a Labour History and Family Economy Perspective (18th-19th Century)", 5th European Labour History Network Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, 11-13 June 2024

04-09-2023 12:26

Globalisation, with its massive population movements, has shed light on the multiplicity of themes and problems to reflect on in relation to migration, highlighting the need to revisit the past with new questions. As the research often argued, migration fuels important economic, social and cultural transformations. We are therefore convinced of the need to broaden our gaze and redefine paradigms taken for granted. The stereotype, in fact, describes immigration as a phenomenon that sees, among its ranks, mainly men, young adults who leave their country of origin for work, leaving behind a family that, God willing, will one day join them in their new homeland. This narrative has prompted research to heavily focus on this type of interpretation, sidestepping numerous issues related to other types of migration and other characteristics of migrants. To the variables generally considered when talking about emigration, it is necessary to add other elements - such as, for example, the definition of identity, the dynamics of memory, relational dimensions, dislocation - in order to grasp points of continuity and points of rupture.

This call for papers wishes to focus on the migration of families between the 18th and 19th century, deepening the knowledge of often neglected variables and modes of migration during the industrialization period. The dialogue that this call for papers hopes to stimulate may shed new light on the family economy in migrant families, fostering dialogue between family history, labour history, migration history, economic history, and gender history. Papers may address:

  1. Family migration as production unit migration. How can family migration be defined? Which reasons motivate a family to migrate? How do migration and workshop dynamics dialogue? How is family migration organised and what role does work play? What role do intermediaries and the network of contacts play in household migrations? Can a particular concentration of family movements be identified at certain periods and in particular locations?
  2. The role of gender and age variables in migration. What professional skills do migrant women have? Do they maintain their jobs between country of departure and country of arrival? How do profession and care work dialogue in migration dynamics? What role do children play in migration? What consequences does migration have on work training and children's education? What links exist between identity, community and migrant labour? How do single-parent families migrate, particularly if the only parent is the mother?
  3. The migration of highly skilled individuals and the dissemination of techniques. What policies are put in place by institutions to attract highly skilled workers? In these cases, is the family seen as a hindrance or as an added value? What commonalities and breaking points can be identified between the migration of skilled craftsmen and ordinary workers? What social integration dynamics are put in place, how do they work and what are the results?

In this particular context, we are interested in studying any kind of migratory phenomena, be it of long or short duration, be it long-distance or a relatively short distance. Contributions from any geographical region are welcome, and although the main focus is on early modern and modern history, contributions on other historical periods will also be considered.

How to apply

Please send a 500-word abstract and a short academic CV to Mario Grassi (mariograssi992[at] and Céline Mutos-Xicola (celine.mutos[at] by 10 September 2023. The proposal should include name, surname, current affiliation and contact details of the proponent. The subject of the email needs to be: “Labour and Family Economy ELHN 2024”. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact the organizers.


Η Δράση Αναβάθμιση και Ανανέωση του ιστοχώρου της Ελληνικής Εταιρείας Οικονομικής Ιστορίας χρηματοδοτείται από το Κοινωφελές Ίδρυμα Ιωάννη Σ. Λάτση, στο πλαίσιο του Προγράμματος Ενίσχυσης Επιστημονικών Εταιρειών 2016