Call for Papers
Poverty in Modern Europe. Micro-perspectives on the Formation
of the Welfare State in the 19 and 20 Centuries
Conference held by the CRC 600 “Strangers and Poor People”, University of Trier, Projects B4 and B5 in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London London, 10th – 12th May 2012
As CRC 600 reaches the end of its third and final grant period, research projects B4
“Poverty and the Politics of Poverty in European Cities in the 19 and 20 centuries” and B5 “Poverty in Rural Regions between Welfare Politics, Charity and Self-Help during the Industrial Age (1860-1975)” will be hosting an international conference. Both projects have been intensely studying forms and characteristics of poverty in Europe from the 1830s to the 1970s. One of the fundamental trends during this period is the development of the modern welfare state. While originally trying to alleviate the negative side effects of industrialisation, the welfare state ultimately offered its citizens an unprecedented degree of social security. Yet the ambivalence of modernity is also evident in the realm of social policy. Social reforms not only established greater opportunities for participation, but also created new ways of controlling individuals in order to sanction, normalise, scientifically explain or – in extreme cases – eradicate deviant behaviour.
But how did the overarching processes of modernisation and the inclusions and exclusions they implied influence poor people's everyday lives? Instead of focusing on the well-researched macro-trends, the projects engage in local and regional case studies from a micro-perspective. Particular attention is paid to peripheral rural regions and precariously situated segments of society beyond the urban industrial working class. Topics of interest include regional and local perceptions of poverty, everyday practices of granting and refusing relief, as well as the relations between public welfare, philanthropy and networks of solidarity. This also involves questions about processes of modernisation and professionalisation in local and regional welfare systems. At the same time the projects are looking at biographies of the poor as well as the agency and experiences of the poor themselves.
The conference is intended to facilitate the contextualisation of the projects' findings in two ways. First, we aim to embed the results of our research into a wider geographical context. Are our findings specific to certain regions, or do they correspond to findings about other regions in Europe, thus conforming to general trends? Second, we want to link our findings to methodological and theoretical discussions. What are the benefits of the analytical categories of inclusion/exclusion? To what extent can these categories be connected with other leading categories that have shaped historical research on poverty, such as the concept of social disciplining? We are especially interested in papers covering the following main aspects:
I. Spatial patterns of poverty and social policies – comparative and theoretical approaches
Papers aiming to describe and explain national, regional or local patterns and differences.
II. Local/regional regimes of welfare policies
Micro-historical case studies on specific regional or local areas which analyse how systems of poor relief were configured, differentiated, partially modernised and how the poor themselves experienced these systems.
III. Target groups of poverty politics – ways of life, labelling, ways of treatment
Case studies which take the risks of poverty and marginalisation for specific groups of poor as a starting point (e.g. groups that were especially stigmatised or discriminated against, or that were privileged as especially deserving; specific risks of poverty for women).
IV. Agents in poverty politics – motifs, discourses and practices
Case studies which focus on institutions within the system of poor relief and how they function at micro-level (e.g. individual activists, facilities, organisations, associations).
V. Social disciplining, integration/marginalisation, inclusion/exclusion – operations and effects of poverty politics in the modern era
Papers which deal with recent methodological debates and reflect on central concepts in the historiography of poverty and welfare, possibly starting from a case study. What contributions can historical case studies make towards refining such central concepts? Is it possible to detect turning points within long-term historical trends when the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion shifted?
Interested applicants should submit a short abstract (max. 800 words) of their paper in English or German and a brief CV. Please e-mail Elisabeth Grüner, gruener@uni¬trier.de, by 1st July 2011.
SFB 600 - B5: Armut im ländlichen Raum
54286 Trier, Deutschland/Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)651 201 3328
Fax: +49 (0)651 201 3293
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