Trouble on the Docks: Strikes, Scabs, and the Colonial Question in Marseille's Port Neighborhoods

Minayo Nasiali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This essay explores the colonial context in which manly labor - particularly dock work - was performed, experienced and embodied in Marseille from the late 1940s through early 1960s. It takes seriously the spatial milieu in which masculinity was cultivated by paying particular attention to both the workplace and neighborhoods where diverse port workers lived and socialized. While scholarship on gender and labor has underscored how masculinity is constructed and performed in the workplace, recent studies have not fully explored the imperial contexts in which many of these negotiations have taken place. Marseille dockers - whether union member or scab, colonial subject or citizen - had varied understandings of the meaning, goal and consequences of labor. Port work was thus deeply coded by perceptions of gender, political affiliations, and racial differences and these understandings were forged on the docks as well as in the city's many port district bars and cafés.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)900-918
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • France
  • empire
  • labor
  • masculinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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