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Title: Class conflict and class consciousness : coal miners in the Bochum area of the Ruhr 1870-1914
Author: Hickey, S. H. F.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3555 8408
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1978
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The working class in the Ruhr was in the process of formation throughout this period, with considerable migration into the area from many parts of Germany and abroad. Mobility was also high within the Ruhr. The result was that the working class was unsettled and unhomogenous. Divisions were preserved and strengthened by company housing and by the important role of denominational organisations within the social and community life of the district. The experience of work provided a possible basis for working class unity. Mine work was hard, dangerous and often not particularly well paid. Discontent and conflict was expressed through absenteeism, job-changing and unplanned, spontaneous strikes. The issues were pay, hours and dignity at work. Solidarity, however, was limited so that strikes generally ended in defeat and disarray. The only significant concessions came not from the employers but from the Government. The labour movement tried to create a stronger basis for class unity through the creation of strong organisations encompassing the mass of workers. This in turn required the avoidance of contentious and divisive issues such as religion, and meant that precedence was given to organisation-building rather than to industrial militancy or political radicalism. This approach, which was typical of the labour movement in Germany, was thus in large measure a response to the problems of working class society in the Ruhr. The labour movement was unsuccessful, however, in its attempt to overcome working class divisions through the emphasis on organisation; only Government intervention in the years after 1914 offered a way forward.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Class consciousness ; Coal miners ; Social conflict ; Social conditions ; Germany ; Ruhr (Region) ; Ruhr (Germany: Region)