Judith Rainhorn et Lars Bluma (eds.), A History of the Workplace: Environment and Health at Stake, Routledge, coll. « Nano and Energy », 2014, 160 p.
Interest in the history of the workplace is on the rise. Recent work in this area has combined traditional methods and theories of social history with new approaches and new questions. It constitutes a ‘topical contact zone’, a particularly dynamic field of research at the junction of social history, history of occupational health and safety, history of technology and the industrial environment. This book focuses on the new approaches in this important and growing area and their possible range of influence. These new attempts to rewrite a history of the workplace are multiple – and in some cases disparate – but share many key characteristics. They are turning away from the assumption that class and class conflict is the prime mover in social history, abandoning the traditional binomial workers vs. entrepreneurs perspective which had long sustained the historical perspective on labour. Moreover, as this collections outlines, these new attempts concentrate on the analysis of complex social networks of actors that defined and configured industrial workplaces, suggesting a broadening of possible social actors.