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Day Labourers and Permanent Employees: Labour Market Relationships in a Historical Context

Project period: 2018-2021
Funding: Arts Council Norway
Contact person at Østfoldmuseene: Bjørg Holsvik, project team member. Email: Bjorg.Holsvik@ostfoldmuseene.no
Project website: https://nia.no/forskningsprosjektet-losarbeider-og-standardarbeider-tilknytningsformer-i-arbeidslivet-i-et-historisk-perspektiv/

About the project

The research project Day Labourers and Permanent Employees shall investigate various forms of labour market relationships in a historical context with a particular emphasis on the industrial age. Covering different groups of employees in several industries, it comprises various independent research projects that are bound together by the dual main theme that they share. Guy Standing’s theory of “the precariat” and Knut Kjeldstadli’s critique of it provide the main theoretical framework, but the case studies will also draw on other theories from the fields of history, organiation studies and employment studies to shed further light on the topic.

Research question I: Which kinds of labour market relationships have existed and exist between employees and employers in the industrial age?

Research question II: To what extent do Guy Standing’s theory of the precariat and Knut Kjeldstadli’s critique of Standing reflect these relationships?

The research project is being coordinated by the Norwegian museum sector’s network for worker culture and employment history. The network and the project are led by the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum. The following museums are contributing to the project: Museet Midt, the Museum Centre in Hordaland, Østfoldmuseene, Museums in Akershus, Vest-Agder Museum, the Norwegian Petroleum Museum and the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum. Other partners: the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, the Swedish Labour Movement’s Archives and Library, and the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas.


The project involves 11 peer-reviewed case studies on the topic of labour market relationships.

Impacts and relevance

The results of the project are highly relevant to the whole museum sector because they will:

  • help to improve our understanding of a topical question with significant transferability to museums, the labour market and organisations both in Norway and the other Nordic countries;​
  • establish good research practices and strengthen the network and museums as research institutions;
  • reinforce collaboration with other research communities in the Nordic region and establish a joint Nordic project. 

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    A seamstress working at Helly J. Hansens factory in Fjellveien 11. Photo taken June 1963. Egil Martinsen / Moss by- og industrimuseum
Museum24:Portal - 2024.06.11
Grunnstilsett-versjon: 1