The first meeting: May 1st, 2012 in Reggio Emilia

On 1st May 2012, the ‘future’ Italian Society for Labour History (Società Italiana per la Storia del Lavoro – SISLav) organized the first meeting at the ‘Sala Santi’ of the ‘Camera del lavoro’ in Reggio Emilia. The participation of proponents and supporters of the ‘Manifesto’ has been large, enthusiastic, and promising. First, the reasons at the basis of the ‘Manifesto’ have been recalled, underlining the urgent need to establish a collaborative network between groups and/or individual researchers and scholars whose interests concern the labour history and, generally, the study of the ‘work’. Secondly, the participants to the meeting started a broader discussion over important topics concerning the Society which include:

-       the cultural reasons and aims

-       the organizational design

-       the relationships with other International Associations of Labour History as well as with territorial Italian organizations (as Research Centers, Chambers of Labour, Historical Archives)

-       fund raising

-       future plans and activities

Respect to the first point (the aims of the Society), as stated in the ‘Manifesto’, the participants agreed with the renewed presence of various, but disaggregated research around the subject of ‘labour’. The need to create a place for the exchange of communication and information, with the aim to enlarge the scope of the chronological and thematic research on labour history have been underlined. They also recalled the importance to apply an interdisciplinary perspective, starting especially a constant dialogue with social scientists and economists, even in order to limit the dominant ‘paradigms’ and to avoid hegemonic claims. Moreover the inclusion of the ‘pre-industrial period’ as well as the use of new approaches to the ‘history of labour movements’ have been conceived as ineluctable. Regarding the internal structure of the Society, the arrangement of the ‘Statute’ is the first, and most important step. They agreed that the design will be organized in order to allow the good functioning of the Society and to counter-balance the various territorial, scientific and operational segmentations. The relationships with the international organizations and scholars have been considered as one of the main important goals, as well as the link with other territorial organizations. In general, the participants stressed about the need to disseminate as much as possible the ‘Manifesto’ through seminars and workshops. 

In order to sustain the exchange of information among those who are interested in labour history a provisional web-platform have been realized. Although a specific ‘web-site’ will be launched as soon as possible, a blog is currently available on The blog includes information on the ‘future’ Society and the contacts to communicate with them and signal calls for papers, conferences, events, books, and articles. The ‘active’ participation is opened to all those who are interested. Finally, the participants agreed that during the next months the activities will include:

a. The constitution of a steering committee that will be devoted to the statutory, organizational, territorial as well as fund-raising matters

b. the organization of a ‘first’ meeting between September and October during which the ‘Statute’ will be presented and voted by the participants (who also will pay the member-fees)

c. the design of a conference to be held in the 2013 to discuss the ‘state of art’ of the labour history in Italy and abroad.