CfP: EAUH 2020 Session „Structural Change as Experience“


European Association for Urban History Conference 2020

Antwerp, 2-5 September 2020

Call for Papers for Session M-LAN-4 „Structural Change as Experience. Reconstructing Everyday Life in Deindustrializing Cities“

Deadline: 4 October 2019

Session organizers: Valentina Fava (Czech Academy of Sciences), Roberta Garruccio (Università degli Studi di Milano), Sebastian Haumann (TU Darmstadt)


In the former industrial centers of Europe, deindustrialization was experienced as loss and rupture in everyday life. Even more than economic decline alone, these experiences of structural change might explain the long-lasting anxiety of individuals and communities which is now often exploited by populists. However, we know very little about the everyday experience of deindustrialization and the lasting anxiety it caused to both individuals and communities.

This session invites papers that reconstruct the experience and vernacular interpretations of deindustrialization in European cities from a micro studies-perspective. Our aim is to attract papers studying how individuals perceived and made sense of social and economic transformations and trace forms of cultural uncertainty and polarization. We are also interested in contributions that take on the methodological challenge of evaluating the relation between past experiences and their reinterpretation in current cultural polarization. Considering these aims, papers might address one or more of the following key questions:

  • Chronology of experiences: When did urban communities go through the experience of structural change, especially in regard to the time-lag between West and East Europe? How does the temporal distance to the original experience affect the current perception of one’s own place in the past processes of deindustrialization?
  • Diversity of experiences: did different social groups (workers, migrants, etc.) experience and interpret structural change differently? How did post socialist transformation alter the perceptions of deindustrialization? Did these differences aggravate polarization and feed into the construction of divergent identities that are now often exploited by populists?
  • Locus of experiences: were loss and ruptures in everyday life experienced as an individual, as a family, or as a community? How did the locus of experience translate into new patterns of social relations, such as gender roles, intergenerational relationships or community organization?
  • Judgment of experiences: is it appropriate to vest the history of deindustrialization in narratives of decline? Are histories of everyday life in deindustrializing cities also histories of success and pride of making do under adverse economic and social conditions that should not be left to populist movements to exploit?


Interested paper-givers are asked to upload their proposal to the conference website no later than 4 October 2019:

You will also find a guideline for papers and more information on the programme and the conference venue in Antwerp on the conference website. For questions regarding the session please don’t hesitate to contact Sebastian Haumann (

EAUH Tagung

Morgen beginnt in Helsinki die Tagung der European Association for Urban History. Gemeinsam mit Laura Falender habe ich dort die Sektion M33 „At Home in the “Concrete Jungle”: Lived Experience and Reputation in Twentieth-century Mass Housing“ organisiert. Es geht um die unterschiedliche Wahrnhemung und Bewertung des Lebens in Großsiedlungen, die von Außen oft als „soziale Brennpunkte“ gebrandmarkt werden, von den Bewohnerinnen und Bewohnern dagegen meist deutlich positiver gesehen werden. Uns interessiert dabei die historische Genese dieses Widerspruchs in den 1970er Jahren, der bis heute wirksam ist.

Wir freuen uns auf insgesamt sieben spannende Präsentationen:

Monika Motylinska Technical University Berlin, Germany: A „Concrete Ghetto“ or a „Prime Example with Blemishes“? On Reputation of the Housing Estate Emmertsgrund in Germany

Mikkel Høghøj Aarhus University, Institute for Culture and Society, Denmark: Interpretating ‚welfare‘ in mass housing in Aarhus in the 1950’s and onward

Peter Shapely Bangor University, United Kingdom: Conceptualizing the British Inner City, 1967-1979: The L8 Factor

Christiane Reinecke University of Leipzig, Germany: Emotional topographies in the making: Social Scientists in search of the lonely crowd in French and West German large-scale housing estates in the 1960s

Evert Vandeweghe Flanders Heritage Agency, Belgium: From “Little Russia” to “Planet of the Apes”: Nicknaming Twentieth-century Mass Housing in Belgium

James Alexander Greenhalgh University of Lincoln, United Kingdom: A Place for Community on the Estate: spatial contests over community centres on mid-twentieth century British housing estates

Giovanni Cristina EHESS/Centre de Recherches Historiques, France: The “Villaggio del Pilastro” between grassroots participation and marginalization: urban identities and representations in a mass-housing of postwar Bologna (1960-1991)

CfP: Lived Experience and Reputation in Twentieth-century Mass Housing (EAUH 2016)

We invite paper proposals for a session at the EAUH 2016: At Home in the „Concrete Jungle“: Lived Experience and Reputation in Twentieth-century Mass Housing (Session M33)

European Association for Urban History
13th International Conference on Urban History
Helsinki, 24-27 August 2016

Deadline: October 31, 2015

Session Organizers:
Laura Falender, University of Oslo, Norway
Sebastian Haumann, TU Darmstadt, Germany

In studies of twentieth-century mass housing estates and “new towns,” many scholars have examined the production end: the planning, design, and construction of new housing projects. Less attention has been given to the consumption side: the lived experience in new social and spatial housing environments, and ways in which these areas were interpreted and established (often negative) reputations. Indeed, a tension between the disparate accounts of the consumption side—the residents’ accounts of community-formation on the one hand, and outsiders’ condemnations of “concrete jungles” and “soulless suburbs” on the other—has been characteristic. In many ways, this tension has shaped life within and the policies concerning housing estates until today.
The purpose of this session is to initiate a comparative debate on the experiential and interpretative realm of mass housing in the twentieth century. We invite papers from any disciplinary background to consider this tension between experience and reputation. Questions that papers might consider include:
• Why did architects’ and politicians’ intentions for new mass housing not translate into broad public acceptance or enthusiasm?
• Which were the crucial historical junctures for the divergence of experience and reputation?
• What actors were involved in establishing a local “sense of place” in new housing developments, or in building negative reputations?
• How did insider- and outsider-produced narratives compare in terms of themes, reasoning and rhetoric?
• What consequences arose from tensions between lived experience and reputation?
While most of the questions appear to be relevant for all “Western” societies, hinting at major commonalities, answers will differ considerably. A great variation in terms of the nature of the state (e.g. liberal, social-democratic); the size, accessibility, and potential regulation of the private housing market; and the class context in which mechanisms of social sorting related to housing occurred, existed throughout Western Europe and North America. By reflecting on commonalities and differences we expect to clarify key factors and turning points in the contentious history of mass housing estates.

To submit a paper proposal, please create a user account on the conference management system and upload your abstract (Max. 300 Words) to session M33. The deadline for paper proposals is October 31, 2015. We will inform you by December 15 about the acceptance of your proposal.

For further information on the EAUH conference, please visit the conference website at:

EAUH 2016: Call for Sessions


Der Call for Sessions für die nächste Tagung der European Association for Urban History in Helsinki vom 24.-27.8.2016 ist eröffnet. Noch bis 1. März 2015 können Vorschläge für Sektionen eingereicht werden. Für die angenommen Sektionen können dann in einer zweiten Phase zwischen Juni und Oktober 2015 Beiträge von den Organisatoren der Sektionen eingeworben werden.

Mehr zur Tagung und zum Call for Sessions

EAUH 2014

Zurück von der Tagung der European Association for Urban History in Lissabon.

Highlight war für mich ein round table „Urban Agency“, organisiert von Bert de Munck und Simon Gunn. Diskutiert wurde ausgehend von der Frage, wie „Stadt“ oder „das Urbane“ stärker als eigenständiger Faktor in die Forschung einbezogen werden kann. Die Diskussion war theoretisch-methodisch angelegt, ausgehend von Bert de Muncks Plädoryer dafür, an die Actor-Network Theorie anzuknüpfen. Insgesamt hat dieser Vorschlag zwar wenig Widerhall gefunden, aber das Interesse an einer Neubestimmung stadtgeschichtlicher Forschungsansätze war dennoch nicht zu übersehen. Aus meiner Sicht steht dieser round table (gemeinsam mit dem ESF Expolatory Workshop, den wir im März in Darmstadt veranstaltet haben), am Anfang einer Debatte, die uns noch länger beschäftigen wird.

Die Sektion „The Urban Economy: Networks, Flows and Place“, in der ich mein eigenes Paper vorstellen durfte, hat ebenfalls zu spannenden Diskussionen geführt. Hier hat sich aus meiner Sicht bestätigt, dass es dringend nötig ist, die mittlerweile sehr kulturalistisch durchdrungene historische Forschung wieder stärker mit der Wirtschaftsgeschichte zu verknüpfen, die genau diesen methodischen „turn“ nicht mitvollzogen hat. Dass diese Differenz den Austausch, bzw. die Einbeziehung einer Wirtschaftsgeschichte, die stark ökonomisch und quantifizierend argumentiert, schwierig – aber keineswegs unmöglich – macht, hat sich auch in dieser Sektion gezeigt.