Relative deprivation and labour conflict during Spain's industrialization: the Bilbao Estuary, 1914-1936 Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2014

start page

  • 335

end page

  • 369

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1863-2505

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1863-2513


  • What drove social conflict in Spain's industrial areas in the period before the Spanish Civil War? This paper is concerned with contrasting the determinants of working-class conflict in northern Spain at the beginning of the twentieth century. Our hypothesis is that the key determinant of conflicts in emerging industrial areas during the interwar period was the struggle to obtain satisfactory family income in a context of combined high price fluctuation, unemployment and economic boom and bust. We suggest two new ways to decipher how economic factors interact with labour conflict. We introduce the family as the relevant income unit when considering wage struggles and relative deprivation. And secondly, we study the reactions to short-term variations of income on families by using monthly rather than quarterly or annual data


  • strikes; relative deprivation; industrialization; labour relations; interwar period; spain