Call for Papers: ESSHC 2018 Panel - Poor relief in European rural societies 1500 – ca. 1830

RHN 70/2017 | Call

Organiser: Nick Van den Broeck, Vrije Universiteit Brussel/Universiteit Gent, Belgium

4-7 April 2018, Belfast, N-Ireland

Call for Papers:
Rural History Panel at the ESSHC 2018 in Belfast
Comparative perspectives on poor relief in European rural societies
1500 – ca. 1830

The central theme of this panel is rural poor relief from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century. We aim to broaden our understanding of pre-industrial formal and/or informal poor relief practices in a comparative perspective, that can be geographical and/or temporal.

Within the current historiography, the English case has drawn a lot of attention. Research on continental Europa however, also shows that a variety of institutions and types of assistance, such as local hospitals, bread doles, dowry funds, endowed charities, poor taxes, confraternities and almsgiving, characterized the welfare landscape. As becomes increasingly clear, similarities and differences in relief practices can – at the continent and in England alike – be observed at different levels of analysis (that is: local, regional and (supra-)’national’). Still, more research is needed to enrich our understanding in the geographical contours of these practices and their associated causalities. This panel therefore brings together papers about the interaction between social, economic, demographic and political factors in the shaping of rural relief practices.

Ideas for questions are:
How adequate were institutions in the alleviation of temporal or structural poverty? What was their contribution to the broader ‘economy of makeshifts’ as other sources of income (like informal networks) are considered? What were the determinants of access to poor relief? And what does this tell us about the function of poor relief in these societies? When rural-urban migration is considered, what role did urban institutions (like the workhouse) fulfil? And what role can be attributed to the regional government /or the state regarding rural relief practices?

Please let me know if you are interested as soon as possible. Contact:

Nick Van den Broeck
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Universiteit Gent

Closing date for panel submissions via the ESSHC website is 1 May 2017.

ESSHC 2018 Website: