Call for papers for a panel at the European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC)- Vienna, 23-26 April 2014

Call for papers for a panel at the European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC)- Vienna, 23-26 April 2014.

Organiser : Beatrice Zucca Micheletto, GRHIS, Université de Rouen (contact : beatrice.zucca[at]

Learning and training patterns of skilled labour force in preindustrial European labour market (14th-18th centuries)

This panel aims to study education and training patterns of boys and girls in preindustrial Europe, taking into account different kinds of apprenticeship and training as well as different social actors.

In preindustrial Europe people were aware of the importance of skills in order to find stable and durable jobs and in order to contrast precariousness and instability or lack of work. Parents and institutions were motivated to give children learning opportunities to contribute to the familial economy and to ensure their future. In addition, the formation of a skilled labour force was an important issue for the the prosperity of European cities and countries. Acquisition of skills and abilities therefore was (just as nowadays) considered a crucial “social and human capital”.

Clearly several studies have been concerned with the formation of skilled labour force. Many of them concentrate on the formal apprenticeship, regularly accomplished by young people into guilds. But the latter were not the only institutions charged with the training of young people.

This panel aims to highlight the role of the actors of the learning process – such as economic and governmental institutions, but also charitable shelters and workhouses, social networks and kinship ties etc…At the same time it aims to focus on conditions of engagement of “apprentices” (instability/flexibility of their position, salary/unpaid work, obtained skills/performed tasks, everyday life etc..), their interconnections with social and economic local context and with labor force demand and supply.

We invite authors working on history of the family/social and economic history of preindustrial societies to submit papers on the topic. They should question the traditional (and technical) notion of apprenticeship and show new research possibilities about learning and training patterns of young people in preindustrial Europe. In addition, we invite scholars to prepare their contributions taking into account at least one of the following factors:
– gender differences
– learning patterns in urban/rural contexts
– geographic mobility
– religious identity
– citizenship (or other political/juridical achievements)

Papers from Middle Age to Early Modern Age and from all Europe, countryside or city, are the welcome.

Please send a short abstract (500 words max) and a brief Cv by 30 April 2013 to : apprentice.esshc2014[at]

We will inform you about the result of the panel selection after the 15thMay 2014.

For further information about the European Social Science History Conference please visit :

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