The European Social Science History Conference invites researchers who investigate historical questions via the methods of the social sciences. The ESSHC 2008 takes place in Lisbon (Portugal), from 27-2-2008 to 01-03-2008. We would like to organize a session on Urban Elites in Transition (18th-20th Centuries).
Keywords are: urban elites, periods of transition and changes in society, prosopography and network analysis.
This session will explore the origins of lower elites and middle groups within urban contexts (for instance business people, civil servants, intellectuals) and their social or cultural identities. Foremost attention will go to the processes, structures and institutions by which these have been (re)produced in the past. Our basic principle is that of interaction: urban contexts, because of the presence of characteristic institutions, governments or administrations, automatically create the conditions for the emergence of economic, lawmaking or intellectual activities; yet different cities’ particular features are differently shaped by these activities. Special attention will go to periods of transition and changes in society, asking what has been the influence of economic transformations, political radicalisation and social democratisation on the position and the social composition of lower elites and middle groups. Papers will be clustered around themes and questions such as:
- Where lie the roots of social groups, identities and stratification within urban contexts and how did they develop over time? How have processes of urbanisation and migration been accompanied by the social exclusion of certain groups in society and the social promotion of others?
- How did ‘traditional’ elites respond to transformations in urban society and what strategies of response did they develop? How did they cooperate and try to maintain or re-orientate their social, economic or symbolic power?
- How did the balance of power between ‘old’ and ‘new’ elites shift over time? What has been the intensity of adaptation and geographical or social mobility of urban elites in contexts of transformation?
- How did different people and their networks contribute to urban policy, to political and institutional developments or to social transformations? How have cities influenced identity formation and how have they positioned themselves as centres of social, economic, political or cultural power?
We particularly welcome papers with a long-term or comparative perspective (different periods or different types of European cities) or with a strong methodological basis (possibilities and limits of prosopography and network analysis). Abstracts should be approximately 250 words. Abstracts and papers should be written in English. Deadline for abstracts is March 25, 2007.
dr. Hilde Greefs, University of Antwerp (Belgium)
dr. Eva Schandevyl, VUB - Free University of Brussels (Belgium)
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