Conf/CfP - Industrial Vigilantism, Strikebreaking and Patterns of Anti-labor Violence, 1890s-1930s, 23-24 October 2018, UK


June 30, 2018


Event Date:

October 23, 2018 - October 24, 2018

Opportunity Cover Image - Conf/CfP - Industrial Vigilantism, Strikebreaking and Patterns of Anti-labor Violence, 1890s-1930s, 23-24 October 2018, UK

 Industrial Vigilantism, Strikebreaking and Patterns of Anti-labor Violence, 1890s-1930s


The ERC— StG project, 'the Dark Side of Belle Epaque. Political violence and Armed Associations in Europe before the First World War," in association with the Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World of the University of Padua, the Universiy of Oxford Faculty of History and the Oxford Centre for European History (OCEH).

Conference Rationale

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Europe, North America and large areas of the globe experienced labour unrest and multiple strike waves, some of which developed a quasi-revolutionary momentum. Although considerable research has been done on the formation of labor movements and on the social, economic and institutional realities of labor confli4s, rather less attention has been paid to the repressive policies and practices of employers, and of local and national state authorities. In response to the steady growth of socialism and a renewed burst of revolutionary fears, exacerbated by the long drawn-out effects of economic competition, industrial firms and corporations increasingly resorted to the employment of paramilitary units, special police, vigilantes, professional strikebreakers and private detective agencies against organized labour and in the protection of their assets and investments. These groups typically operated on the frontiers between the legal and the extra-legal, drawing their strength from the language of the law, but after stepping outside of it to carry out acts of violence, intimidation, and subversion.

The ERC-funded research project PREWarAs hosted by the University of Padua, the Universi of Oxford Faculty of History and the Oxford Centre for European History OCEH) invite scholars, at any stage of their academic career, to submit their abstract for a conference devoted to a comparative and transnational examination of industrial vigilantism, strikebreaking and labor violence in the period from the 1890s to the 1930s to be held in Oxford, United Kingdom, on the 23 rd and 24th of October, 2018. By putting scholars working on Europe and other world regions in conversation, the conference will provide a unique opportunity to gain knowledge on the rise of a market for anti-labour violence across regional, national and international boundaries and within the fluctuations of an expanding, integrated world-economy. It will at so make a significant contribution to understandings of the violent transitions to mass politics in Europe in the early decades of the twentieth century. In this view the conference organizers are keen on inviting proposals that discuss the formation and structuration of private or semi-private security services (e. g. N.F.L.A Fédération nationale des Jaunes de France, Zechenwehren, Pinkerton, etc.) and their recognition within national and imperial legal systems and the relationship between private security bodies and law-enforcement agencies.

The conference is open to multi-disciplinary approaches and to both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In particular, it will explore the complex relationships between private agencies, semi-public groups, and local and national police authorities. One particular focus will be the development of organization at forms of strike-breaking, notably through the emergence of self- defence groups and community police patrols during or in anticipation of strikes. The conference will also explore the role of ideologies and emotions in the generation of violence, whereby groups felt legitimized in their decisions to defend social order, state authority and economic freedom. Such actions were often simultaneously local as well as national and national as well as international. Particular consideration will therefore be given to papers addressing transnational networks, information sharing, communication and solidarity actions among employer associations, yellow unionism and commercialized strikebreaking.

Regional and Global areas of investigation

While the conference will primarily focus on Europe and North America we will also welcome contributions from scholars investigating other regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, the Middle East Oceana and South America.

Potential themes include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • The  rise  of  paramilitaries vigilantes, private police and detective agencies, in the field of labor relations
  • Revolutionary fears and civilian schemes of anti-labor mobilization
  • The development and consolidation of company (or yellow) unions
  • The relationship between State authorities and non-State actors in the repression of labour
  • The formulation of anti-labour and anti-socialist legislation.
  • Transnational circulation of anti-labor ideologies discourses and practices.
  • Anti-labor international cooperation and exchange between employer associations.
  • Cases of anti-labor violence.

How to apply

Please send a 500-word abstract (single spaced) and a short academic CV to The subject of the email needs to be: Industrial vigilantism, strikebreaking and patterns of anti-labor violence, 1890s-1930s. A comparative and transitional perspective.

Funds are available for presenters to support travel and accommodation expenses.

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

Eligible Countries
Host Country
Conference Type
Publish Date
May 22, 2018
Link To Original