The dark side of dyeing: labour organization and industrial district of Saint-Denis at the end of the fourteenth century

Abstract : The dark side of dyeing: labour organization and industrial district of Saint-Denis at the end of the fourteenth century : The essay focuses on two documents which are quite contradictory but are produced by the same manorial authority – the abbey of Saint-Denis – at the end of the fourteenth century: the first is a statutes of 1374 allowing to dye wool or woollen cloth with bark’s walnut; the second is an inquiry of 1383 demonstrating that dying with bark’s walnut has never been authorised in the city of Saint-Denis. Both texts allowed nevertheless to draw the drapers’ working territory, which is not polarized by Paris but rather turned toward boroughs and country between the Seine, the Oise and the Marne, and this area might be an industrial district. The labour organization of Saint-Denis is very much like the one of Norman cities, with a limited division of labour, a supra-corporative organization over craft compagnies and a strong bound to country workers. The contradiction between the two documents points to the fragility of statutes, which are only a snapshot of the balance between the economic actors, because the lord has in fact no legitimacy to define technical rules for craftmen; he can only register social consensus.
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Boris Bove. The dark side of dyeing: labour organization and industrial district of Saint-Denis at the end of the fourteenth century . Medievales -Paris-, Puv, 2015, Travailler à Paris, pp.105-128. ⟨halshs-01465605⟩

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