(Around the globe) Conference “Paths of Transition / Transformation. Local Societies in Southeastern Europe in Transition from Empires to Nation States after World War I”



23.–24.11.2017, Graduiertenschule für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien, München



The dominant understanding of the end of WWI in Southeastern Europe is still marked by the emergence of nation states, rashly nationalizing institutions, space and people at the ruins of empires. The fall of empires certainly meant the end of a specific experience of state building and configuration, one based on the dominance of a metropolitan centre over peripheries that were ruled in a differentiated way. Although the empires turned to nationalizing themselves under the pressure of and challenge by the nation-state model, they still left a legacy that new nation states, also imperialising entities, could not easily dispose of.


With the new idea and legitimacy of statehood and the new, uniform and “homogeneous” states in the making, local societies had to face a period of transition, a systemic change that aimed at the profound reconfiguration of state and social relations. However, what seemed as a straightforward development at the general level did not necessarily mean a similar transformation (comprehensive and sustainable social change) for local and regional societies.


Uneven transition can be explained with a broad range of factors. Revealing how and why these were effective in certain cases and failed to have an effect on other ones is a key issue for understanding the transition process. Comparison of such disparate (or even similar) stories across space would allow for revealing these factors behind different local outcomes and paths of transition. The types of change in local societies, the potential to gain agency, the significance of the changes for individuals with varying social backgrounds are just a few of the many themes that can be brought to the fore when the focus rests on local cases and they are analysed through a comparative lens. Therefore, the conference attempts to bring together a wide range of case studies that present material for further comparisons and the comparative study of certain problems.










(Around the globe) Kolloquium “Interaktionsräume französischer und deutscher Wirtschaftseliten 1920–1950”

Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris


21.09.2017 – 22.09.2017


Deutsch-französisches Kolloquium organisiert vom Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung in Zusammenarbeit mit SIRICE (CNRS), Triangle UMR 5206 und dem DHIP mit finanzieller Unterstützung der Backbone European Consulting Group


Die Tagung möchte die Kontinuitäten der Kontakte deutscher und französischer Wirtschaftseliten untersuchen und auf diese Weise die europäische Integration von ihrer Vorgeschichte her in den Blick nehmen. Dabei soll danach gefragt werden, wie und in welchen Formen Angehörige der wirtschaftlichen Eliten zu Vertretern staatlicher Wirtschaftspolitik wurden, wie dieser Rollenwandel durch deren soziales und politisches Selbstverständnis ermöglicht und seinerseits durch die wirtschaftlichen und politischen Veränderungen beeinflusst wurde. Es stellt sich auch die Frage, inwieweit diese Entwicklung durch die Nähe der Karrierewege politischer und administrativer Eliten gefördert wurde. Ziel ist, zu prüfen, inwieweit die deutsch-französischen Beziehungen zwischen den 1920er und 1950er Jahren aus der Geschichte des Wandels der Wirtschaftseliten und ihrer Verbindungen neu zu verstehen ist.


Programm Tagung Wirtschaftseliten:





(Around the globe) Conference “Government by Expertise: Technocrats and Technocracy in Western Europe, 1914-1973”


University of Amsterdam, 13-15 September 2017


Conveners: Camilo Erlichman (University of Amsterdam) and Peter Romijn (University of Amsterdam/NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies)


Technocracy is the political swearword of our times. From the multiple crises of the European Union to the recent elections in the US, the role of experts in public governance is often invoked as one of the main sources for the political ills of contemporary society, responsible for the exacerbation of social inequalities, the decline in the acceptance of political institutions, and the rise of populist movements. For many, technocratic rule is an elitist project that makes present-day politics unaccountable, detached from the lives and needs of ordinary people, and thus fundamentally irreconcilable with democracy. Defenders of technocracy, by contrast, stress the complexity of the world and the need for specialists with extensive expertise to run what they regard as the increasingly difficult business of government, while pointing to the defects and dangers of a model of democracy that is overly inclusive of and responsive to the people.


Such contemporary discourses around the legitimacy of technocratic governance are not novel, but are part of a long and intricate history of technocratic forms of power in mass democracies. This conference will look at the genealogy of technocracy and the trajectories of various groups of ‘experts’ in western Europe’s mid-20th century. It will explore the relationship between technocracy, war, democracy, and politico-economic orders; trace the role of technocracy in the process of European integration; and explore the gradual ascent of expert groups involved in social engineering, planning, economic management, and the techno-politics of the state. In doing so, it will seek to assess the origins, shape, and legacies of western Europe’s ‘Age of Technocracy’, carving out patterns that continue to influence policymaking in European democracies today.


The conference will kick off on 13 September 2017 at 5.00 pm with a keynote presentation by Professor Philip Nord (Princeton University), who will give a lecture on ‘France’s Age of Technocracy, 1930-1970’. The keynote presentation will be delivered at the VOC Zaal, Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam. All other sessions will take place at the Doelenzaal, University Library, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam.