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Rémunérations, travail et niveaux de vie à Dijon à la fin du Moyen-Age

Abstract : The remuneration of work is a familiar concept in our modern world. It is well known that medieval societies also faced it, but we don’t know under what proportions, what influenced its level and how it participates to living standard. These are the central questions guiding this work, with Dijon at the end of the Middle Ages as a mooring point. The richness of Dijon medieval archives offers high quality material for the study of medieval remunerations. A first point of observation was established during the 1370-1395 period, where the cross-referencing of various documents made possible to systemically observe the importance of remunerations within Dijon society. Two other observation points were placed on the ducal vineyards and the municipal legislation on prices and wages, in a wider diachronic perspective extended to the 15th century.A database was created from more than 12,000 payments covering the 1370-1395 period. It reports a significant income-generating activity in the construction, craft and vineyard areas. The mapping of these remunerations shows their impact on the whole city and beyond. The comparison with the tax accounts made possible to assess the proportion of the population which was paid and its standard of living. Indeed, our documents do not allow us to detect the entire active population : only about 20 % of the city households were retributed. Medieval society had difficulties to give a name to remunerations. This study shows that work is quantified by different means: some are based on precise calculations of daily work or measurement of production, the others mix remuneration sensu stricto and in kind payment of the workers. The levels of remuneration are however calculated on the basis of concrete aspects: the worker's experience, his/her technical mastery and his/her know-how, the task difficulty, the harsh working conditions and the productivity. If these aspects are similar to modern practice of remuneration, it takes place in small working structures, often enshrined in the broad framework of the family.The late-medieval labor remuneration is thus composite and if some of workers get rich, it is difficult to grasp its importance to satisfy the needs of workers. Yet, political interventions constantly seeked to constrain and limit the rise of remunerations in order to reduce the production costs. Throughout the fifteenth century, the city of Dijon and the Duchy of Burgundy promulgated ordinances on the remuneration of winegrowers, and others which aimed to limit the bread price. These interferences show the importance of the remuneration of work at the end of the Middle Ages and also gives the means to approach the concept of real wages.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 3, 2019 - 12:55:31 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 9:20:06 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-02145754, version 3



Thomas Roy. Rémunérations, travail et niveaux de vie à Dijon à la fin du Moyen-Age. Histoire. Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019UBFCH004⟩. ⟨tel-02145754v3⟩



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