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Title:Nihil sine carbo: politics, labor, and the coal industry in the towns of the Jiu Valley, 1850-1999.
Author(s):Glont, Anca M
Director of Research:Hitchins, Keith; Todorova, Maria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hitchins, Keith; Todorova, Maria
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Barrett, James; Steinberg, Mark
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Jiu Valley
Labor History
Abstract:This dissertation explores the history of a working class in the Jiu Valley. The valley was one of the few sources of high-grade coal in Transylvania and the local peasantry were duly displaced by an industrial working class, the latter shaped by three intertwining process. The first was the expansion of the coal industry, heavily tied to the demand (and prices) for coal. Second, the growing ranks of miners in the valley maintained their occupational identity but fit this within a larger working-class identity — defining such with terms and concepts borrowed from the Hungarian socialist movement. The coal industry and its workers, defining themselves both against the value of coal and within larger trends of economic development, shaped each other in a mutually constitutive process. This process was conjoined with the third theme: the ways that workers, administrators of the coal companies and state agents sought to forge a compact that would secure steady production, reasonable profits and expansion, and a good standard of living for the miners. Tracing these themes from the origin of the Jiu coal industry under Austro-Hungarian rule to its decline during the post-socialist transition, this dissertation argues that the miners were able to parlay labor solidarity and the need for coal not simply to negotiate their interests with the coal companies, but to resist pressures from centralizing regimes. The miners did not simply oppose centralization, but rather used the leverage of their labor to negotiate their best interests. In this light, the mineriads of the 1990s represent not an isolated outbreak of violence but rather are part of a longer continuity from Austro-Hungarian through Romanian rule in which the miners offered labor and political support to the ruling government as part of the compact between workers and the state. The resiliency of this compact was broken only under the pressures of post-1989 transition as market forces, changing priorities of the state and the loss of solidarity among miners combined to erode the position of the workers of Jiu.
Issue Date:2015-12-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Anca Glont
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12

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