A CHILD AND MERE HIRELING IN THE URBAN SOCIETY OF THE HETMANSHYNA IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

Authors

  • Ihor Serdiuk Poltava V.G. Korolenko National Pedagogical University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.15407/mics2019.04.057

Keywords:

Hetmanshyna, child, life cycle, hired laborer, labor, servant

Abstract

The article examines the use of hired child labour in the Hetman State society with an emphasis on its peculiarities inherent to the urban population. In general, the labour was the most important element of the socialization of the child at the time, and it worked “seriously”; its work was aimed precisely at
the outcome but not at the process or work itself. This is the main difference from the present-day practices, and that is what made possible and allowed
the widespread use of hired child labour, it was regarded not as an upbringing, but as a real contribution to the family economy.


The child could make a contribution to the family economy by working directly in the family economy, as well as by working beyond it. At the same time, many kinds of work done, its volume, character, etc. could be similar. At the same time, the work of the son of the artisan on the one hand and his pupil on the other, or the same daughter of the Cossack and his young tenant, bore distinctly different social contexts. Hired labour and apprenticeship meant having a child outside his own family and stated his mobility (within a single settlement or on a larger territory). Such labour migration of children and adolescents was an important part of the separation of the Hetman State city over its district. The concentration of people aged 10-14, and most notably of 15-19 years increased in its population in comparison with villages. Cities offered more variations of the rewards. They had more variety of vacancies and job offers specifically for minors. By concentrating economic and human resources, the Hetman State city gave an opportunity to find work somewhere close to their homes. The child could change the owners several times, but without leaving that same settlement. In rural areas, such migrations took place from farm to farm, or between villages. This state of affairs created a system of competition between the hirelings for good work and between employers for the good hirelings. The mechanisms of such competition, as well as inequality and discrimination related to the work of children, are the problem of a separate study. 

The city’s advantages are inseparable from its dangers because the social capital acquired by young minors could be negative and extend to the whole family. The presence of migrants, the travelling and marginalized elements, the soldiers on the posts – all of these, typically urban phenomena, gave birth to the demand for prostitution, in which young girls were involved. The boys could be involved in the theft of livestock and things, to fend for fleeing, to steal for service. In this case, the families of hired children not only did not benefit from the earnings of their descendants, but also suffered from the use of equipment, had to pay for damage, and so on. Despite these dangers, the city of Hetman State attracted young people.


When exploring hired labor in the early modern days, it is worth abandoning the Soviet approach, which considers it mainly as one-sided operation. At present, the most productive is the concept of life cycle service or life cycle servanthood. From this point of view, the service of the house (in Ukrainian historiography labeled with the concept of “hiring” (Ukr. ‘naymy’, ‘naymytuvannya’) does not appear as something permanent, accomplished, but as one of the stages of human life, an important component of its socialization.  It is considered not only as a consequence of poverty, but as a certain fuse from this phenomenon, which allowed to survive elementary, to obtain a certain social capital, to acquire some material resources necessary for the transition to the next stage of the life cycle.

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Published

2018-11-07

How to Cite

Serdiuk, I. (2018). A CHILD AND MERE HIRELING IN THE URBAN SOCIETY OF THE HETMANSHYNA IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. City History, Culture, Society, (4), 57–77. https://doi.org/10.15407/mics2019.04.057

Issue

Section

Early Modern City