Depth of Field, volume 2, no 1 (June 2012)Joeri Januarius: Industrial Representations of Belgian Limburg Miners in the 1950s: Photographing Corporate Culture, Labour, and Everyday Life

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Abstract

This paper analyzes photographic representations of Belgian Limburg miners in the 1950s as a means of gaining insight into the mining community and shrinking labour market at that time. Specific attention is paid to ‘industrial’ representations of these miners, which covers diverse aspects of the lives of workers: everyday life, labour and industrial welfare. In part, this will be done through an historical and visual content analysis (quantitative and qualitative) of the pictures printed in the various jubilee issues published by the mining interests themselves. A variety of questions will be addressed: How were the miners depicted? What does the context tell us? What do we learn from this information? This analysis will contribute to our understanding of the changes in corporate culture in the 1950s on the one hand and, on the other hand, the specific, physical representation of miners and their community. This paper can be seen as making a contribution to the developing fields of a visualizing social history, media history, and a cultural approach to business history.