Mining: social security systems

There is evidence that fraternities with social welfare functions have existed in the mining industry since the 13th century. This form of risk regulation in miners’ unions, which has had a structurally defining role in the German region, is an important research area for the department of mining history. Here too, the approach taken is to examine the development of social security systems in the mining industry across different periods, but also with regard to different regional and national contexts. The research area related to the history of medicine and the history of the body concentrates on the union-based medical system in the Ruhr between 1770 and 1970, with three main areas of content: “union hospitals”, “the union doctor system”, and “miners’ work-related illnesses”. The union system is understood here as a biopolitical regime of body.


Research projects

The miner’s body in industrialization: biopolitics in the Ruhr coal-mining industry 1890 - 1980

The miner’s body in industrialization: biopolitics in the Ruhr coal-mining industry 1890 - 1980

For many years, a miner’s work – especially in underground mining – was shaped by hard physical labour and specific environmental conditions (darkness, dirt, confinement, humidity etc.), which encouraged miners to develop a long-lasting work-related identity. This was characterized by a culture of risk, orientated towards masculinity and production. ...

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Completed projects

On broad shoulders – 750 years of Knappschaft

2010 undoubtedly qualifies as such an event, being the 750th anniversary of the first mention of a Knappschaft (miners' union) on the Rammelsberg in Goslar. The DBM thus felt duty-bound to commemorate this extraordinary event,…

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