Working on Labor

Essays in Honor of Jan Lucassen


This collection of seventeen essays takes its inspiration from the scholarly achievements of the Dutch historian Jan Lucassen. They reflect a central theme in his research: the history of labor. The essays deal with five major themes: the production of specific commodities or services (diamonds, indigo, cigarettes, mail delivery by road runners); occupational groups (informal street vendors, prostitutes, soldiers, white-collar workers in the Dutch East India Company, VOC); geographical and social mobility (career opportunities on non-Dutch officers in the VOC, immigration into early-modern Holland; the influence of migrants on labor productivity; income differentials as migration incentives); contexts of labor relations (late medieval labor laws, subsistence labor and female paid labor, Russian peasant-migrant laborers, diverging political trajectories of cane-sugar industries); and the origins of labor-history libraries and archives.

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Marcel van der Linden (1952) is Research Director of the International Institute of Social History and Professor of Social Movement History at the University of Amsterdam.

Leo Lucassen (1959), is Professor of Social History and Chair of the History Department at Leiden University.
Introduction, Marcel van der Linden and Leo Lucassen

Working for Diamonds from the 16th to the 20th Century, Karin Hofmeester
Green Plants into Blue Cakes: Working for Wages in Colonial Bengal’s Indigo Industry, Willem van Schendel
Dak Roads, Dak Runners and the Re-ordering of Communication Networks, Chitra Joshi
Changing Production Systems and Forms of Labor Control in the Javanese Cigarette Industry: 1920s-1930s, Ratna Saptari

Selling in the Shadows: Peddlers and Hawkers in Early Modern Europe, Danielle van den Heuvel
The Worst Class of Workers. Migration, Labor Relations and Living Strategies of Prostitutes around 1900, Lex Heerma van Voss
Fighting for a Living in Europe and Asia, Erik-Jan Zürcher
White Collar Workers of the VOC in Amsterdam, 1602-1795, Karel Davids

The Career Ladder to the Top of the Dutch East India Company: Could Foreigners also Become Commanders and Junior Merchants?, Jaap R. Bruijn & Femme S. Gaastra
Demographic Change and Migration Flows in Holland between 1500 and 1800, Jan Luiten van Zanden & Maarten Prak
The Economic Contribution of Labor Migrants in the European Maritime Labor Market of the Long Eighteenth Century, Jelle van Lottum
Income Differentials, Institutions, and Religion: Working in the Rhineland or Pennsylvania in the Eighteenth Century, Richard W. Unger

Labor Laws in Western Europe, 13th-16th Centuries: Patterns of Political and Socio-economic Rationality, Catharina Lis & Hugo Soly
The First “Male Breadwinner Economy”? Dutch Married Women’s and Children’s Paid and Unpaid Work in Western Europe Perspective, c. 1600-1900, Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk
Wage Labor and the Household Economy: a Russian Perspective, 1600-2000, Gijs Kessler
Cane Sugar and Unlimited Supplies of Labor in the 1930s: New Thinking and the Origin of Development Economics, Ulbe Bosma

Unwritten Autobiography: Labor History Libraries before World War I, Jaap Kloosterman

Notes on Contributors
Tabula Gratulatoria
Social and economic historians, historical sociologists, historians of South Asia.