Minner, materialitet og barnearbeid i Kristiania omkring 1900
- Side: 263-273
- Publisert på Idunn: 2014-01-09
- Publisert: 2013-09-01
The article examines from a materiality perspective the phenomenon of child labour as experienced by boys and girls in the tobacco industry in Christiania around 1900 as related later in sixteen memoirs. The body is revealed to be the child’s capital and most important tool in work. In the interpretation of the relationship between the child’s body on the one hand and the physical requirements of work on the other, the experiences which are stored in the child’s body and relived and talked about later are brought to light. The children both went to school and worked, but the days in the factory were so long and so many that they left a clear imprint on the children’s bodies. Both at school and at work the children were subject to a severe discipline which taught them about expectations and demands. But the objects in their environment also «spoke» to the children of what was expected of them and where they were in the hierarchy of the workplace. The children learned by observing and copying, and they gained practical skills and experience-based knowledge at work. In interaction with adults, the children were included in the working community and they experienced that practical knowledge provided a basis for mastery and professional pride. At the factory the child became a work child.