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Les travailleurs de la mer : désertions et débarquements des marins provençaux au XVIIIe siècle

Abstract : 18th century merchant seafarers frequently leave their ships during their navigations, with or without the consent of their captains. Merchant ship’s desertions and disembarkations are linked to the sailor’s juridical status and work conditions. Indeed, seafarers are not allowed to leave their work. Placed in a subordinate relationship, their mobility is restrained by the royal power. Desertion and disembarkation from the ship thus introduce a rupture in the work contract of engagement, which is criminalized. Sailor’s disembarkations however express the complex power relations that structure their workplace and the maritime labour. Running away from a ship can be a way for these men to elaborate economic strategies, to resist to their commanders or to negotiate their work conditions. Hence it expresses the ways they perceive their own work and their daily working conditions. Leaving the ship eventually allow them, through the discourses they use to justify their disembarkation, to place their claim to a right to mobility in the field of a moral struggle. Thus, they collectively redefine the boundaries of maritime labour during the 18th century.
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Claire Boër. Les travailleurs de la mer : désertions et débarquements des marins provençaux au XVIIIe siècle. Tracés : Revue de Sciences Humaines, ENS Éditions, 2017, 2017 (32), p. 27-48. ⟨10.4000/traces.6826⟩. ⟨hal-01727877⟩



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