HomeThe markets of misery (18th-21th century)

The markets of misery (18th-21th century)

Les marchés de la misère (XVIIIe-XXIe siècle)

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Published on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

The purpose of this symposium is twofold. It will report back on the speeches that have been made on the misery and the representations made of it, from the eighteenth century to the present day. It will also give us the opportunity to question the inclusion of poverty in the economic system: how misery generates a particular economy, both for those who undergo it and for those who profit by it?

Announcement

Conference organized by the Centre Georges Chevrier (UMR 7366) and the LARHRA (UMR 5190)

Coordinators

  • Alain Bonnet (University of Bourgogne),
  • Natacha Coquery (University Lumière Lyon 2).

Argument

Jules Lermina, an anarchist writer, published in Paris in 1869 a History of Misery, subtitled The proletariat through the ages. In the conclusion, he affirmed the universality of this state, linked it to civilization itself and announced its disappearance:

« L'histoire de la misère, c'est l'histoire du monde : il faudrait, interrogeant la carte universelle à chaque âge, à chaque période, décrire chez tous les peuples, dans toutes les régions, les accidents sociaux, les particularités vitales […] Qu'est-ce donc que cette civilisation dont le seul résultat est d'enfanter la misère ? Qu'est-ce que ce progrès qui dégrade, cette marche sociale en raison de laquelle tout recule ? Et enfin : A quel vice primordial, essentiel et continu, faut-il attribuer cette anomalie monstrueuse qui se formule en une équation : Civilisation égale misère […] O Misère, depuis quarante siècles, de tes doigts      amaigris tu étreins le travailleur ! Mais l'heure est venue, ton règne hideux est fini, tu t’en iras où s'en sont allés l'inégalité, l'oppression, la hiérarchie, le bon plaisir, la foi, où s'en iront l'ignorance et l'improbité. Misère ! Tu as rencontré l’athlète qui te vaincra. Et cet athlète s’appelle la Révolution sociale. »

The prophecy of Lermina appears, almost a century and a half later, exaggeratedly optimistic. Far from having disappeared due to the development of productive capacities, technological advances or social struggles, misery seems to extend its empire. At the very least, the common perception is no longer the hope of a better future. The fear of a continuing spread of ecological scourges and economic decline (crisis, recession, precariousness), and the identity tensions cast a veil on the future of humanity.

The purpose of this symposium is twofold. It will report back on the speeches that have been made on the misery and the representations made of it, from the eighteenth century to the present day. It will also give us the opportunity to question the inclusion of poverty in the economic system: how misery generates a particular economy, both for those who undergo it and for those who profit by it? From this dual point of view (cultural, economic), the symposium will enable the audience to take stock of the different meanings attached to this particular state and to their historical evolution, both in time and in space: does misery come from an individual experience or is it a calamity that afflicts a social group?; is misery identical to misfortune, degradation, or deprivation? Can misery be constituted as a historical object, that is to say, an autonomous reality susceptible of a critical analysis?

This conference aims at bringing together scholars with expertise across a range of geographic areas and disciplines, history and history of art, but also sociology, economics or anthropology. It will be based on the following axes:  

1- Règulation of misery

  • Identification and evaluation of misery.
  • The politics of misery: institutional actors, philanthropists, foundations…  
  • Solidarity facing misery: family, neighborhood, organizations.

2- Economies of misery

  • The work of the unemployed; the organization of a parallel economy; misery as a source of value creation.
  • Production, distribution and consumption: goods destined for the miserable class.
  • Economic exploitation of poverty: dealers, smugglers, sleeping traders and other exploiters.
  • Geographies of poverty: from distant misery to local misery.

3- Représentations of misery

  • Misery illustrated: images of the poor in literature and the arts.
  • Mediatized misery: constructions of a media discourse on misery.
  • Philosophies of misery: theorizations of indigence.

Languages

The articles and the proposals may be submitted in the following languages: French and English.

Key dates

  • November 2017: call for papers.
  • 15 January 2018: submission of proposals (3,500 signs) together with a one page CV.

  • February 2018: selection of proposals.
  • 17 September 2018: handing over of texts (20,000 signs). Papers will circulated to Chairs and Discussants.
  • 18 and 19 October 2018: symposium, at Lyon (France).
  • 1st semester 2020: publication of proceedings.

Scientific committee

  • Laurent Baridon, Lyon 2 University
  • Axelle Brodiez-Dolino, CNRS (Centre Norbert Elias)
  • Laurence Fontaine, EHESS
  • Rossella Froissart, Aix-Marseille University
  • Estelle Galbois, Toulouse Jean Jaurès University
  • Angela Groppi, Sapienza University
  • Jean-Luc Outin, CNRS (Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne)
  • Jacques Rodriguez, Lille University
  • Ariadne Schmidt, Leiden University
  • Bertrand Tillier, Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne University.

Contact and submission

  • Alain Bonnet <Alain.Bonnet@u-bourgogne.fr>
  • Natacha Coquery <natacha.coquery@wanadoo.fr>

Places

  • Lyon, France (69)

Date(s)

  • Monday, January 15, 2018

Keywords

  • misère, économie, représentations, travail, solidarités, politiques, valeur, arts, discours, exploitation

Contact(s)

  • Natacha Coquery
    courriel : natacha [dot] coquery [at] wanadoo [dot] fr
  • Alain Bonnet
    courriel : Alain [dot] Bonnet [at] u-bourgogne [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Natacha Coquery
    courriel : natacha [dot] coquery [at] wanadoo [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The markets of misery (18th-21th century) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, http://calenda.org/423242