chapter  4
80 Pages

Shipbuilding Workers

Shipbuilding workers, by being part of wider socio-economic activities and relations, devise survival strategies and a particular heuristic logic through which a series of facts and processes gain meaning, which in turn helps them cope with the violence of extreme situations. Depending on market conditions, the employment relationship between the bosses and the workers is mediated by commitments stemming from formal and informal contracts under the employment regime of subcontracting. The notion of informal economy in general has long been debated in anthropology as well as by sociologists in the framework of a means of livelihood thesis. In Piraeus, shipbuilding activities were complemented by small scale, family run shipyards which produced wooden vessels. The majority of workers in the shipbuilding zone are used to job changes, especially in the area of metalwork. The antagonistic culture of metalworkers is a matter of both personal status and economic rationality.