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EAUH Conference 2018


Session M39 - Sailors and Citizens: the Culture of Everyday Life in European Port Cities from the 18th the 20th century

Coordinators: Yiannis Kokkinakis (, Kirill Nazarenko (

Read Session abstractThe long nineteenth century marked people’s everyday life in Europe and beyond through the many structural changes occurring at every level, be it political, economic, social, technological or institutional. Sailors and port dwellers were among those who not only experienced the changes shaping modern and contemporary societies, but may be considered agents of them. The transition from sail to steam and the industrialization of the secondary sector were among the main phenomena that primarily took place in port cities, affecting traditional sectors such as shipbuilding, maritime trade and shipping, as well as the auxiliary trades. The advent of steam navigation introduced new types of professions both on board and ashore, and a new type of organization for shipping enterprises. Working with new materials and processing methods necessitated new knowledge from new types of professions, including engineers, boiler makers and so on, which led to industrialized shipbuilding. Steam navigation companies needed agents and offices in ports, and a type of staff previously unknown to the shipping industry. The industrialization of port cities led to the necessities of technological change. These processes took place in parallel with changes in the borders between states, and policies introduced by national legislatures to stimulate domestic trade and suppress foreign shipping. The development of navies also influenced the situation. Thanks to the regularity that only steamers could offer, the introduction of passenger shipping transformed the lifestyle of ordinary people and linked many previously distant places in a sustained manner. It also introduced a new type of business organization, which was more demanding in terms of capital, management and employees. All these processes influenced sailors themselves, their families and citizens as a whole, altering the rhythms and patterns of their everyday life.
The aim of this session is to consider the culture of everyday life in European port cities from the 18th to the 20th century. We invite papers examining specific examples of port cities directly or indirectly impacted by changes in shipping, shipbuilding and trade routes.
The session should consider the following problems in the overall context of the topic:
1. The transition from traditional to industrial society
2. The transition from sail to steam
3. Changes in trade routes and goods
4. Changes in boundaries due to political processes and access to the seas of new countries
5. Cultural and everyday changes
6. The extent to which local businesses depended on sea ports
Papers could be built on network theories, innovative methodological approaches, interdisciplinary and comparative research. We invite work that considers questions of economy, transport networks, social structures, and ideological problems concerning the changing world of sea ports and maritime trade routes.
Keywords: sailors; citizens; sea trade; shipbuilding; shipping; everyday life

Friday 31st August 2018
  Room 08 14.00-15.30, 16.00-17.30



The St. Petersburg Marine necropolis on the territory of Alexander Nevsky Lavra
Karina Valegina

"Like a Groom in his Wedding Day" - the Gulf of Finland in the Economy, Culture and Identity of St. Petersburg, 18th - 19th cc.
Alexei Kraikovski, Julia Lajus

Employment and politics in the port of Marseilles: the conflict of the ‘Société des Portefaix de Marseille’ with the ‘Compagnie des Docks’
Anna Mahera

From sail to steam: labour composition and wage distribution on Belgian merchant vessels, 1850-1900
Kristof Loockx

Tenant by the Sea - Tenants´ associations in the industrialized port city of Gothenburg 1900-1950
Hannes Rolf

Sailors in Petrograd in the World War I and the Civil War. 1914-1921
Kirill Nazarenko

Public infrastructure projects and trade during the interwar period in Crete. Constructing the new harbor in Heraklion (1920-1930).
Dimitris Kypriotakis

War, innovation and regression. Greek shipbuilding and the region of Piraeus during the Occupation (1941-44)
Vasilis Manousakis