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“Guest Workers” in Mining. Historicising the Industrial Past in the Ruhr region from the Bottom Up?

Katarzyna Nogueira

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Abstract


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Abstract

Over the past five to six decades, oral history has become a complex and diverse tool, not only for uncovering and analysing individual and collective patterns of memory but also to inscribe them into public historical narratives. In the wake of the decline of the mining industry in the Ruhr region, local history workshops, academic historians, filmmakers, and museum practitioners began to construe miners and mining communities as historical subjects from the bottom up. Throughout this time, personal narrations played an increasingly important role as both a source of research and a tool for public historical representations. Using the case study of the Ruhr area, this article deals with the functions of public oral history narrations about the region’s mining past. It will particularly address the question of how the work and life stories of Turkish immigrant labourers, officially labelled as “guest workers”, have been represented in regional historical culture. To what extent did they become narrative agents in the Ruhr’s historiography, from a democratic and participatory “history from below” to an increasingly institutionalised approach in public history?

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Bibliographie: Nogueira, Katarzyna: “Guest Workers” in Mining. Historicising the Industrial Past in the Ruhr region from the Bottom Up?, BIOS – Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral History und Lebensverlaufsanalysen, 2-2018, S. 102-113. https://doi.org/10.3224/bios.v31i2.08


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