Workers who loaded and unloaded ships have formed a distinctive occupational group over the past two centuries. As trade expanded so the numbers of dock labourers increased and became concentrated in the major ports of the world. This ambitious two-volume project goes beyond existing individual studies of dock workers to develop a genuinely comparative international perspective over a long historical period. Volume 1 contains studies of 22 major ports worldwide. Built around an agreed framework of issues, these 'port studies' examine the type of workers who dominated dock labour, their race, class and ethnicity, the working conditions of dockers and the role of government as employer, arbitrator and supporter. The studies also detail how dockers organized their labour, patterns of strike action and involvement in political organizations. The structure of the port city is also outlined and descriptions given of the waterside environment. These areas of investigation form the basis for a series of 11 thematic studies which comprise Volume 2. Drawing on the information provided in the port studies, these essays identify important aspects and recurring themes, and explain how and why particular cases diverge from the rest. The final chapter of the book synthesizes the various approaches taken to offer a model which suggests several configurations of dock labour and presents suggestions for future research. This major scholarly achievement represents the most sustained attempt to date to provide a comparative international history of dock labour. An annotated bibliography completes this essential reference work.

part ONE|11 pages


part TWO|507 pages

Port studies

chapter FOUR|27 pages

Dock labour in Le Havre 1790—1970

chapter NINE|33 pages

The history of Hull dockers, c. 1870-1960

chapter TEN|18 pages

New York city and London, 1945-1960

chapter THIRTEEN|21 pages

Dock labour at Shanghai

chapter SEVENTEEN|21 pages

The port of London, 1790—1970

chapter TWENTY-TWO|23 pages

Waterfront labour at Fremantle, 1890-1990

part TWO|260 pages

Thematic Studies

chapter TWENTY-FOUR|19 pages

Dockworkers and labour history

chapter TWENTY-SIX|20 pages

The work process

chapter THIRTY-ONE|28 pages

The construction of the image of dock labour

chapter THIRTY-THREE|25 pages

Criminality on the docks

chapter THIRTY-FIVE|19 pages

Dockers' configurations