Jean-Baptiste Xambo

Dockside Shanties. Lightweight Dwellings, Free Labour and Enslavement in Marseille during the Ancien Régime

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Habitat; Work; Enslavement; Deportation; Galleys.

This article constitutes a foray into the world of the convict shanties that adorned the port of Marseille at the beginning of the 18th century, where we will glimpse a few moments in the political life of a self-build habitat. We will wonder how and to what extent the actual spatiality and materiality of this servile housing managed to shape a locality that was capable of both determining the social status of its occupants and freeing their work from corporative constraints. First, following a description of the architectural specificities of these lightweight self-builds, drawn most notably from their registers of meaning and of uses, we will examine the ways in which this servile housing determined its occupants' relationships with the city as well as their social status. Second, through the forms of tenure that they were subject to and the material properties they were composed of, we will reflect on the dialectic tension between freedom and forfeiture that this shanty space paradoxically managed to configure.

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