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Unfree Workers

Insubordination and Resistance in Convict Australia, 1788-1860

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

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  • Fills an important gap in research on unfree labor, providing a systematic examination of worker resistance

  • Uses “big data” to map out the contours of resistance, breaking new ground by powerfully visualizing the scale

  • Includes detailed case studies and datasets painstakingly built up through years of research

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Economic History (PEHS)

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USD 109.00
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  • ISBN: 978-981-16-7558-4
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Table of contents (11 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvi
  2. Incarceration—Convicts, Unfree Labour and Colonial Capitalism

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Approach, Sources and Methods

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 35-53
    3. Convict Eastern Australia: Labour Bureaucracy or Police State?

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 55-84
    4. Battling the Bench

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 85-109
  3. Excarceration—Patterns of Resistance and Collective Action

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 111-111
    2. Shipboard Mutinies

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 113-128
    3. Issuing Demands and Threats and Striking Deals

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 129-159
    4. Go-Slows, Strikes and Effort Bargaining

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 161-192
    5. Absenteeism, Absconding and Escape

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 193-225
    6. Compensatory Retribution

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 227-252
    7. Riot, Bushranging, Piracy and Revolt

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 253-286
    8. Nothing to Lose but Your Chains

      • Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan
      Pages 287-316
  4. Back Matter

    Pages 317-349

About this book

'This remarkable book reveals the ties that bind transported convicts to histories of global capitalism, and the ways in which convict resistance and collective action shaped patterns of violence and labour exploitation. Grounded in the unprecedented linkage and analysis of a wide range of records, its compelling conceptual framework means that it will become a classic in Australian and imperial history.'

---Clare Anderson, University of Leicester

'In Hamish Maxwell-Stewart and Michael Quinlan we have two gifted historians, writing at the peak of their powers, about one of world history's most fascinating labor systems. Deeply researched, engagingly written, and morally informed, Unfree Workers is a gift for the ages.'

---Marcus Rediker, author of The Slave Ship: A Human History

'The book makes a major contribution to understanding the world-wide capitalism/unfree labour connection, and as far as Australia is concerned, constitutes the first full-length study of it.'

---Terry Irving, Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Wollongong


This book examines how convicts played a key role in the development of capitalism in Australia and how their active resistance shaped both workplace relations and institutions. It highlights the contribution of convicts to worker mobilization and political descent, forcing a rethink of Australia’s foundational story. It is a book that will appeal to an international audience, as well as the many hundreds of thousands of Australians who can trace descent from convicts. It will enable the latter to make sense of the experience of their ancestors, equipping them with the necessary tools to understand convict and court records. It will also provide a valuable undergraduate and postgraduate teaching tool and reference for those studying unfree labour and worker history, social history, colonization and global migration in a digital age.

Michael Quinlan is emeritus professor of industrial relations at UNSW, Australia, as well as holding posts at the University of Tasmania, Australia, and Middlesex, UK, University. He has researched and published extensively on the history and regulation of work (including occupational health and safety) and worker organisation.

Hamish Maxwell-Stewart is a professor of heritage and digital history at the University of New England, Australia. He has researched and published extensively on the history of convict transportation including its connections with slavery and other unfree labour systems.

Keywords

  • Global labour migration
  • Capitalism in Australia
  • Worker protests
  • Unfree labour studies
  • Social history
  • Convicts

Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, University of New England, Armidale, Australia

    Hamish Maxwell-Stewart

  • School of Management, Business School, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    Michael Quinlan

About the authors

Hamish Maxwell-Stewart is a professor of heritage and digital history at the University of New England, Australia. He has researched and published extensively on the history of convict transportation including its connections with slavery and other unfree labour systems.

Michael Quinlan is emeritus professor of industrial relations at UNSW, Australia, as well as holding posts at the University of Tasmania, Australia, and Middlesex University, UK. He has researched and published extensively on the history and regulation of work (including occupational health and safety) and worker organisation.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Unfree Workers

  • Book Subtitle: Insubordination and Resistance in Convict Australia, 1788-1860

  • Authors: Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Michael Quinlan

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in Economic History

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-7558-4

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Economics and Finance, Economics and Finance (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-16-7557-7

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-16-7558-4

  • Series ISSN: 2662-6497

  • Series E-ISSN: 2662-6500

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVI, 349

  • Number of Illustrations: 19 b/w illustrations, 4 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Economic History, Labor and Population Economics, History

Buying options

eBook
USD 109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-981-16-7558-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)