Justice bourgeoise ? Justice masculine ? Les conseils de prud'hommes au début du XIXe siècle: l'exemple de Tourcoing


  • Béatrice Craig


The conseils de prud'hommes are commissions created by an 1809 imperial decree to arbitrate conflicts between employers and employees. Until 1848, the councillors were chosen exclusively among employers and self-employed workers. Women were not represented on council. Did the councils treat employers and employees, as weil as men and women, equally? Or did they favour their class and their sex? The councils do not seem to have deliberately tried to promote the interests of the employers, or of men. Nonetheless, the closer the socio-economic status of those who appeared before the councils was to the one ofthe members themselves, the more likely they were to be satisfied with the decision reached. The real proletariat and women felt alienated by an institution which shared neither their values nor their norms of behaviour, and made little use of the councils. This institution, therefore, poorly served the interests of those who were not represented among the councillors.