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Between Cross and Class

Comparative Histories of Christian Labour in Europe 1840-2000


Lex Heerma van Voss, Patrick Pasture and Jan De Maeyer

In the late nineteenth century in a number of continental European countries Christian associations of workers arose: Christian trade unions, workers’ cooperatives, political leagues, workers’ youth movements and cultural associations, sometimes separately for men and women. In some countries they formed a unified Christian labour movement, which sometimes also belonged to a broader Christian subculture or pillar, encompassing all social classes.
In traditional labour history Christian workers’ organizations were solely represented as dividing the working class and weakening the class struggle. However, from the 1980s onwards a considerable amount of studies have been devoted to Christian workers’ organizations that adopted a more nuanced approach. This book takes stock of this new historiography. To broaden the analysis, each contribution compares the development in at least two countries, thus generating new comparative insights.
This volume assesses the development of Christian workers’ organizations in Europe from a broad historical and comparative perspective. The contributions focus on the collective identity of the Christian workers’ organization, their denominational and working-class allegiances and how these are expressed in ideology, organization and practice. Among the themes discussed are relations with churches and Christian Democracy, secularization, the development of the Welfare State, industrial relations and the contribution to working-class culture.
This volume is the result of a joint intellectual enterprise of the International Institute of Social History (IISG) in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and a group of scholars linked to the KADOC – Documentation and Research Centre for Religion, Culture and Society of the KU Leuven (Catholic University Leuven-Belgium).
Contents: Lex Heerma van Voss/Patrick Pasture/Jan De Maeyer: Acknowledgments – Patrick Pasture: Introduction: Between Cross and Class. Christian Labour in Europe 1840-2000 – Wilhelm Damberg/Claudia Hiepel/Alfredo Canavero: The Formation of Christian Working-Class Organizations in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands (1840s-1920s) – Jan De Maeyer: The Formation of a Christian Workes’ Culture in Pillarized Societies: Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, c. 1850-1950 – Paul Misner: The Roman Catholic Hierarchy and the Christian Labor Movement: Autonomy and Pluralism – Pieter van Duin/Zuzana Poláčková: «Against the Red Industrial Terror!»: The Struggle of Christian Trade Unions in Austria and Czechoslovakia Against Socialist Trade-Union and Workplace Domination, 1918-1925 – William Patch: Fascism, Catholic Corporatism, and the Christian Trade Unions of Germany, Austria, and France – Andrea Ciampani/Massimiliano Valente: The Social and Political Dynamics of the Christian Workers in Unified Trade Union Movements: The Experiences of Italy and West Germany after World War II – Frank Georgi/Lex Heerma van Voss: Christian Trade Unionism and the Organization of Industry: From the Organized Profession to Democratic Planning and Self-Management – Patrick Pasture: Building the Social Security State: A Comparative History of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, from the Nineteenth Century to the 1960s – Hugh McLeod: Religion and the Organization of the Working Class in Great Britain, c. 1830-1960 – Iriana Novichenko: A Christian Labour Movement in Eastern Europe? – Carl Strikwerda: «L’organisation, clé du succès!»: European Christian Labor Movements in Comparative Perspective.