Lecture by Vincent Ducatteeuw

08 November 2022 - 15:30 — 08 November 2022 - 18:00

Identity processes in collective action: Belgian newspaper discourse prior to 1913 general strike

  • 8 November
  • 15.30 hours
  • IISH, Max Nettlau Room

On November 8th Vincent Ducatteeuw, research collaborator at Ghent University, will hold a lecture at the IISH.

Abstract: Identity processes are important for understanding collective action dynamics. In this talk, I discuss how digitised historical newspaper collections can be used to investigate the role of identity processes in collective action, using the general strike of 1913 as a case study. This was Belgium's third major general strike aimed at achieving electoral reform and occurred as a result of the left-wing cartel's unexpected electoral defeat in 1912. After spontaneous election riots and protest strikes by the socialist movement's base, the Belgian Labour Party pacified these grassroots actions into a large-scale strike the following year. This had a significant impact on national dynamics of contention as the socialist party was successful in incorporating this non-institutionalised form of collective action into its repertoire. Previous research has revealed that this was possible because of the party's strong organisational capabilities. To discipline the workers toward peaceful protest, commissions such as a propaganda committee were formed. This study examines the discourse of the socialist newspaper "Vooruit" to better understand how the party constructed this collective identity prior to the 1913 Belgian strike. Ideologically opposed newspapers (i.e., catholic, liberal) are analysed to identify non-conforming protest events in an attempt to reveal how workers’ social identities may differ from the promoted collective identity.

Bio: Vincent Ducatteeuw is a MA in History (Ghent University, 2020) and a MA in Education (Ghent University, 2020). As an educational historian his main interests involve public history, education and digital humanities. He joined GhentCDH in 2020 as research collaborator with a focus on digitization and data analysis. During this time he worked on two large-scale public history projects. The development of Cinema Belgica, an open access data platform for cinema history in Flanders and Belgium, and Gent Gemapt, an online platform for cultural heritage and participatory history. In 2021 he started as a PhD student in history at Ghent University. His doctoral research is primarily focused on historical data modelling and the creation of an urban gazetteer. 
He is currently affiliated with DATA-KBR-BE, investigating the dynamics of collective action in Belgium using the digitised historical newspaper corpus of the Royal Library of Belgium.

IISH Seminar: This lecture is part of the monthly IISH Seminar series.
In principle, seminars take place every first Tuesday of the month. The seminar is open to the public, but with regard to accommodation, we would like you to register, jacqueline.rutte@bb.huc.knaw.nl, under the mention of 'lecture'.

Vincent Ducatteeuw