Volume 49 part 2 (August 2004)


Karsten Linne, The "New Labor Policy" in the Nazi Colonial Planning for Africa
The National Socialist planning for a recolonization of Africa was based on a new social and labour policy and focused chiefly on the "labour question". In designing their schemes, planners strove to mobilize wage labour and circumvent the much-feared "proletarianization" of the workers. The key problem in exploiting the African colonies had two main aspects: a shortage of manpower and migrant labour. Therefore, planners designed complex systems of organized, state-controlled labour recruitment, and formulated rules for labour contracts and compensation. An expanded labour administration was to ensure that the "deployment of labour" ran smoothly and that workers were registered, evaluated, and supervised. Furthermore, "white labour guardians" were to be assigned the responsibility of overseeing the social wellbeing of the African workers. As was evident not only in Germany but in the colonial powers, France and Great Britain, as well, these concepts all fit into the general trend of the times, a trend characterized by the application of scientific methods in solving social issues, by the increased emphasis on state intervention, and by the introduction of sociopolitical measures. Nazi planning was based on Germany's prewar politics but also reflected the changes occurring in German work life after 1933.

Yair Seltenreich, Jewish or Arab Hired Workers? Inner Tensions in a Jewish Settlement in Pre-State Israel
The agricultural settlement was essential in the process of establishing the state of Israel. In the 1920s the Zionist leadership claimed exclusivity in employing Hebrew workers. This research focuses on the lone Moshava settlement, and examines the reasons why its farmers, opposing the hegemonic ethos, preferred the employment of Arab workers. In the broader historical context, this article's interest is the possible reactions of a peripheral social group straining under the pressure of the hegemonic elite. The research shows how the farmers' position caused increasing involvement by powerful external organizations in the decision-making process of employment, to such an extent that the farmers virtually lost their control of the matter. Furthermore, the research illustrates how the fact that national institutions and the Hebrew workers belonging to the same ideological environment caused social values to be identified with national values and favoured them over economic values.

Anne Winter, "Vagrancy" as an Adaptive Strategy: The Duchy of Brabant, 1767-1776
The study builds on a representative sample of more than 2,500 court cases against vagrants in the Duchy of Brabant between 1767 and 1776. Individual evidence on social background and whereabouts has been quantitatively processed to provide qualitative insight into the "why" and "how" of their movements. Transcending the judicial framework and historical and historiographical biases, these "vagrants" are shown to have displayed various patterns of mobility that fit intelligibly within the wider framework of migration history and theory. By exposing the varied scope of the concept of "vagrancy" in meaning and policy practice, the article argues against its continued ubiquitous (and often dismissive) use in historiography as if it refers meaningfully to a distinct marginal social category, which not only often reiterates the biases of a distorted elite view, but also obstructs a more unified and insightful understanding of patterns of migration in history.