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Working class self-help

2012 European Social Science History Conference

Call for Papers, on the theme:

Other Worlds of Labour: Non-Socialist strands of working class self-help & popular voluntary association in C20th Europe.

Peter Ackers (Loughborough University, UK) and Alastair Reid (Girton College, Cambridge, UK) are planning a stream of panels within the Labour network of the 9th European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC), at Glasgow, from Wednesday 11 to 14 April 2012. There is the possibility of an edited collection arising from the stream.

Marxist Socialism or Communism has been an important strand in many European labour movements. However, Marxist scholars have tended to assimilate the entire history of European working class life into the history of Socialism. This is particularly true of the C20th, when 'primitive forms' of working class life apparently fall away with the advance of scientific, modernist Socialism. However, this is only one side of the story of European working class life. This call is for papers that focus on other expressions of working class life that offer new perspectives on 'labour' in the twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on non-Socialist forms of self-help.

Proposals on the following topics would be particularly welcome:

1. Trade unions, particularly craft, apolitical, non-socialist and moderate trade unions

2. Working class self-help movements linked to non-Socialist political parties eg. conservative, liberal, nationalist

3. Employer-sponsored self-help organizations

4. Co-operatives, whether retail or producer

5. Women's, Ethnic and Youth organisations

6. Religious movements of all types and denominations, from Catholicism to small Protestant sects and non-Christian groups

7. Mutualist welfare organizations (savings, temperance, housing, health)

8. Education and Art (also theatre, music, cinema)

9. Sport and Leisure (also walking, cycling, gardening, holidays) etc

10. Labour life stories of self-help & upward social mobility

Please email a short abstract of up to 400 words to p.ackers@lboro.ac.uk and ajr49@cam.ac.uk by Friday April 1, 2011

More information on the conference and an electronic pre-registration form can be found on the website of the ESSHC: http://www.iisg.nl/esshc and  http://www.iisg.nl/esshc/user/register.php. At registration please mention that you would like you paper to be part of the Ackers/ Reid sessions so that your paper is correctly allocated.

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