Practices and Dependencies. Research Perspectives on the History of Proto-Industrial Labour and the St. Gallen Linen Industry (1450-1700)
Abstract: By using the example of the St. Gallen linen industry between 1450 and 1700, the aim of this article is to explore the potential of practices and dependencies as analytical categories to research the history of work and labour in general and proto-industrial labour in particular. The examples focus on the production of flax, yarn, and cloth in the town and the rural areas, as well as the bleaching process. Furthermore, credit relations, the quality inspection, and practices on markets are considered as the connecting points between different steps of production. As alternative analytical tools, practices and dependencies allow for the classification and structuring of findings, while at the same time being adaptable to their complexity. In addition, they are not focused on a specific form of labour or economy and are therefore also particularly suitable for cross-epochal and globally comparative perspectives in line with current developments in Global Labour History.