Subtypes Guilds - Journeymen's Organizations - France

Two types of French journeymen’s associations existed: the confréries and the compagnonnages. The confréries were originally religious fraternities, but developed into militant labour organizations, arranging strikes and trials. This type of journeymen’s box did have a bourse commune (common box) with which mutual aid was arranged. The compagnonnages were illegal associations, with the purpose of supporting travelling journeymen in their Grand Tour de France. Travelling journeymen could count on a network of support points throughout France, but also on some monetary assistance for travel, in times of sickness and bail if they were arrested for compagnonnage-related activities. Real mutual aid funds within French guilds or journeymen’s associations were rare because of the existence of religious brotherhoods or confréries, which provided charity and informal aid to destitute journeymen. High litigation costs – stemming from legal conflicts, such as those with guild masters and high taxes imposed by the government on the associations were other reasons for the absence of mutual aid funds; guilds and journeymen’s associations could simply not save enough capital to provide for them.


(Bos, 1998, 295-326)



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