Laura Tabili: “‘To Keep My Living for Time Being’: Strategies of Makeshift in Interwar Britain”

Laura Tabili, de l’Université d’Arizona, présentera sa communication “‘To Keep My Living for Time Being’: Strategies of Makeshift in Interwar Britain” le jeudi 17 mai, de 17h à 19h. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e , salle D421.

La séance sera suivie d’un pot de fin d’année, vers 19h.

Discutant: Yann Béliard

The paper will reconstruct patterns of migration, work and settlement among migrants from the colonies to Britain, focusing on the 1920s and 1930s. Migration from colonies to metropoles partook of specific power relations and economic arrangements, yet also formed part of a broader and unprecedented population mobility between 1800 and 1950. Although scholars are aware that this population moved to and from, into and around Britain and the North Sea and Atlantic littoral, we still know little about where they lived, how much they mixed and married with local people, and the extent to which these patterns persisted or altered after the second world war. Analyzing records of several hundred individuals enables systematically reconstructing their places of origin, time, place and manner of arrival in Britain, patterns of dispersal and settlement within Britain, their strategies of getting a living and their travels within and beyond Britain.
Feminist historians have described how women compensated for their disadvantage in labor markets while reconciling social labor with domestic responsibilities through “economies of makeshift” involving paid and unpaid labor within and outside the household, as well as pawning, scrounging and semi-legal activities. This paper specifically describes how colonized migrants in Britain similarly compensated for their limited and constrained occupational choices by moving from job to job, town to town, and occupation to occupation.