Tous au charbon ?

April 2021

A new publication by Anton Perdoncin

Tous au charbon ? Tous au charbon? Career Inequality and Worker Mobility during the Recession (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, 1945-1990), Genèses, n° 122, p. 9-33.



This new article, based on a long socio-historical investigation on coal miners in the  Nord-Pas-de-Calais (France), aims to understand the social effects of an economic recession through the mobilities of workers.

Based on the quantitative and qualitative exploitation of prosopographic data, the article sheds original light on the sources and modalities of the destructuring of workers’ worlds.



Read the French version online.



Throughout the 20th century, the world of labour and workers’ conditions were riddled with numerous, intersecting fault lines, which were deepened by the scale of industrial restructuring and haemorrhaging of the workforce since the 1970s and 80s.

This article, which explores the relationships between career inequality, professional mobility and economic recession, investigates the destabilisation of the workers’ world through the prism of workers’ careers. A prosopographical approach is adopted in order to observe the transformation of miner’s careers – primarily French and Moroccan miners – in the Houillères du Bassin du Nord-Pas-de-Calais (nationalised collieries), from their creation in 1946 to their permanent closure in December 1990, throughout the implementation of recession policy in the coal industry.

The article is part of a special issues on “Professional Mobilities” coordinated by Cédric Hugrée, Paul Lehner & Jean-Baptiste Paranthoën.