City and Society in the Low Countries (ca. 1200-ca.1850). The condition urbaine: between resilience and vulnerability

  • Winter, Anne (Administrative Promotor)
  • Deneweth, Heidi (Mandate)
  • Blondé, Bruno (Co-Promotor)
  • Boone, Marc (Coördinator)
  • Deligne, Chloe (Co-Promotor)
  • Aerts, Erik (Co-Promotor)
  • Parmentier, Isabelle (Co-Promotor)
  • Bracke, Wouter (Co-Promotor)
  • Van Sprang, Sabine (Co-Promotor)

Project Details


Resilience has often been discredited as a contextual concept, in that it only applies to Western societies
with their strong inclination for individualism. Therefore, we will pay attention to a myriad of agents and
factors contributing to or hindering urban resilience, ranging from the creative entrepreneur, via informal
circuits and bonds of reciprocity, neighbourhood networks to formal institutions and eventually urban
governments. In doing so, it is our intention to escape from an optimistic belief in progress or 'affluent
stability.' We will also address the structural failures of urban societies in the West, for example, their
inability to fundamentally deal with problems of social inequality. Our investigation is guided by the
hypothesis that the complex interplay between causal factors touches upon the 'urban core' of societal
developments itself and will help to explain how urban societies continue to innovate, adapt and/or
reproduce themselves under severe challenges. The common goal of the different research projects
proposed by the network is to give a realistic and contingent evaluation of the opportunities, challenges,
successes and failures of urban societies.

Inspired by the challenges of present-day urbanisation, three work packages propose to critically
investigate 'urban resilience' in the historical Low Countries: (1) Environmental Challenges of City Life:
Resilience and Precariousness; (2) Urban Memories and Counter-Memories; (3) Urban Community
Building: Inclusion and Exclusion. These themes will be the object of a resolutely international and
interdisciplinary analysis, including - besides history - such disciplines as the study of visual and literary
culture, archeology, and geography.
Effective start/end date1/04/1230/09/17

Flemish discipline codes

  • Other philosophy, ethics and religious studies not elsewhere classified