Call for Papers: Rural History 2019 panel proposal – Agrarian and rural associations in European dictatorships during the interwar period

RHN 116/2018 | Call

Organisers: Miguel Cabo, Juan Pan-Montojo, Lourenzo Fernández-Prieto, Daniel Lanero 

Rural History 2019, 10-13 September 2019, Paris, France

Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Rural History 2019 Conference:
The destruction, integration, and “harmonisation” of agrarian and rural associations in European dictatorships during the interwar period

The period between the 1880s and the First World War saw an astonishing wave of creation of agrarian and rural associations (cooperatives, saving banks, cattle insurance societies, resistance leagues, parties...) in Europe. This movement adopted very different forms according to the features of the agrarian systems, the cultural background, and the legal and political framework, but from the Iberian Peninsula to the Czarist Empire and from Scandinavia to the Balkans, it can be said that all countries witnessed a process of self-organisation and organisation from outside rural society of the rural masses. These developments implied seminal changes in many fields beyond the economic one, particularly if one assumes the neo-Tocquevillian theory (as the likes of Robert Putnam do) that the health of democracy is rooted on the density and variety of associations in the civil society.

Historiography has dealt with this phenomenon but has also neglected a crucial dimension: their abrupt end in a wide range of countries between the 1920s and the 1940s. What happened to these organisations and the huge social, economic and cultural capital they implied, under the dictatorships, which triumphed in many European countries during the Interwar period? Did their disappearance mean a capital loss? How far did the new regimes take advantage of their resources? Did anti-pluralistic regimes manage to impose fully their state-led alternatives or did forms of negotiation and compromise take place with the previous associations? How was the interaction between national actors and policies with local actors and needs? How was the interaction between formal and informal forms of representing collective interests in the countryside under dictatorial rule? What did the period under authoritarian regimes mean, if we look at the long run, from the point of view of the collective action in the countryside? Was it simply a parenthesis or rather a peculiar phase in a secular process?

We welcome papers dealing with any European country and any sort of dictatorship between 1918 and the early 1950s.

If you are interested, please contact Miguel Cabo at

Conference website:

The Rural History 2019 Call for Panels can be found in RHN 70/2018.