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Η φλέβα της γης. Τα μεταλλεία της Ελλάδας, 19ος-20ός αιώνας [The veins of the earth. The mines of Greece, nineteenth-twentieth century]

Λήδα Παπαστεφανάκη
Vivliorama Pubications, Athens 2017 [392 p., in Greek, english abstract]
Type: New Publications

Since the 19th century, mining had been a notable, export-oriented sector of the Greek economy. This historical study examines the extent and the way in which a mostly export-oriented economic activity integrated into a globalised economy contributed to local economic development, influenced social relations and defined state policies. Central to this approach is the concept of labour division, allowing the study of social and economic differences in multiple levels: on one hand, it allows the Greek case to be considered within a system of hierarchical relations in the economy of globalization; on the other hand, it allows the systematic study of small-scale and medium-scale mining companies in Greece; finally, it allows a focus on labour division in the workplaces themselves, in the mines and in the families of miners in order to trace the relationships, the tensions and the dynamics developed therein.
The book raises certain questions and attempts to answer them mapping out in broad terms the whole of the mining sector, recording and dating the events. Mining activity in Greece throughout the period of 1830-1960 is studied in relation to the role of the state, the activities of various companies, the place of Greece in the international division of labour, the shaping of labour markets and labour relations, technology, technical management and organisation of mining operations.

The main archival sources that are used comprise of the archive of the Secretariat/Ministry of Economics during the Othonian period, the Miners’ Pension Fund, the Private Office of the Prime Minister (1917-1928), archives of various companies and engineering documentation, various archives in Greece (General State Archives, Historical Archive of the National Bank of Greece, the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive, the Technical Chamber of Greece etc.). Material from French archives was also used: the French Foreign Ministry (Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères) and the National Archives of France (Archives Nationales). The Archive of the Higher School of Mining in Paris (École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris) provided the opportunity to trace the profile of Greek students who later became mining engineers. Numerous published sources have been used as well: technical publications, economic studies, inventories, parliamentary debates etc., while personal memoirs and literary accounts have also proven useful. Data has been drawn systematically from the Statistical Tables (1909-1972) published annually by the Mining Inspectorate of the Ministry of National Economy (later Ministry of Industry), which provide statistics regarding the production-sale and trade of minerals, the number of workers and accidents at work. Documentation is supplemented with technical drawing and photographs.