European Labour History Network (ELHN), Working Group "Workers, Labour and Labour History in Modern Central-East-Europe”
The Working Group aims to discuss this subject from a transnational and preferably comparative perspective. In addition, the second ELHN-conference provides a good opportunity to organize the research network and/or working group for researchers who are dealing with the problems of labour, working class or classes, and the social and political history of labour in -19th-20th Century - Central-East-Europe since the network intents to encourage comparative approaches and possibly academic cooperation in the study of the labour history of the region.
We seek to explore various dimensions of the modernization of industrial labour and the increasing political participation of the workers in the 19th-20th century. The region underwent a couple of regime changes: the capitalism of the interwar era and the previous century has been replaced by Soviet-style societies after the Second World War; and then there was a radical shift socially and politically with the “transition” to market economy and liberal democracy. Modernization and globalization were key processes, which shaped the world of labour and labour-history writing in the region.
The participants of the session are encouraged to analyze how the role of labour and the “working class” changed in different Central–East-European countries from the mid-19th to the second half of the 20th century as well as how different groups of the working class or classes perceived the social and cultural meaning of physical work in the different periods.
The possible topics of discussion are proposed to include (but not limited to) the following questions:
- How can we characterize the development of industrial work and the working class from the late 19th century to the end of 20th century?
- How did workers’ participation in politics change during this time?
- How did the changes of the political regimes impact on workers’ everyday life and social and political attitudes in the region?
- How and what changes took place in the composition and internal hierarchy of the factory’s working collective?
- How can this group be described by attributes such as age, gender, marital status, education skill and the urban/rural divide?
- How did these attributes impact on the social status of the workers?
- How did the political and social characteristics of the ruling regimes impact on the everyday life of the workers?
- What are the specificities of Alltagsgeschichte in the study of state socialism?
- How can we characterize the social position and social mobility of different groups of the working class during the 20th century?
We strongly promote comparative approaches as we seek to investigate the similarities and the differences of the social and cultural meaning of labor and the working class in the Central-East-European countries.
Please send an abstract of max. 300 words to the organizers Eszter Bartha and Tibor Valuch before January 29th 2017 using the following e-mail addresses:
The proposals will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee of the Conference in February 2017 and the Organization Committee will establish a preliminary Conference programme in late spring 2017.
Eszter Bartha (firstname.lastname@example.org)