SOCIOBORD is launching on 5 March

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Professor Laura Lee Downs (HEC) will officially launch her ERC project “Social Politics in European Borderlands, 1870s-1990s: A comparative and transnational study” (SOCIOBORD) with a kick off workshop Friday 5 March, from 14h to 18h30 (CET).

SOCIOBORD seeks to reframe the history of welfare and social care in modern Europe by restoring to view the contribution of local actors – primarily families and associations – to shaping welfare systems in three borderland regions of north-western, eastern, and south-eastern Europe from the 1870s through the 1990s. By adopting a “triadic” approach, which understands families, associations and states as co-constructors of social welfare, and focusing on borderland regions, where the reach of central states often fluctuated, Prof Downs and her team will examine a wide range of local welfare structures, based on national, but also non-national forms of identity/solidarity (occupation, religion, gender, etc.). Focusing on these overlapping, and at times competing structures of social provision will allow the SOCIOBORD team to explore the interplays between inclusion and exclusion that have long shaped European welfare provision by homing in on those contexts where such competition was particularly visible. For it is our conviction that the long-range historical study of local actors’ ideas and practices around social welfare in European borderlands has much to tell us about the development of welfare across Europe in general.

We are pleased to welcome our Advisory Board to SOCIOBORD’s inaugural workshop. The Board is composed of eight world-renowned experts: Professors Pamela Ballinger (University of Michigan), Pieter Judson (EUI), Sonja Matter (Universität Bern), Silvia Salvatici (Università di Milano), Pierre-Yves Saunier (Université Laval), Pat Thane (Kings College), Tara Zahra (University of Chicago) and Marta Verginella (Lljubjana University).

The workshop will open with a brief presentation of the project’s eleven case studies and the comparative and transnational/transregional methodology by which we intend to connect these case studies into a dynamic whole that is – hopefully – greater than the sum of its parts. Our Advisory Board members will then share their suggestions, offering further guidance and a preliminary evaluation of SOCIOBORD’s ongoing research activities.

Beyond this core group of respondents, the event will also welcome members of the EUI’s interdisciplinary cluster on Inequality, Social Welfare and Social Justice (co-convened by Profs Tom Crossley, Laura Lee Downs and Anton Hemerijck), as well as members from the COST Action “Who cares in Europe?”, which network Professor Downs launched in March 2019. Colleagues from associated projects, including Susan Zimmerman’s ZARAH (Women’s Labor Activism) and Gàbor Egry’s NEPOSTRANS (Negotiating Post-Imperial Transitions) will also join us that day.

Register in advance for this meeting*:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


For any further information, please contact Laura Borgese


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