Artiesten of bedelaars? Aanpassingsstrategieën van rondtrekkende entertainers in Brabant (1750-1914)



This project aims to gain insight into the migration patterns, income strategies and cultural repertoires

of itinerant entertainers in Brabant in the 'long nineteenth century' (1750-1914). Making their living

with public performances ranging from singing, making music, acting and puppetry to acrobatics and

bear dancing, they travelled over short and long distances with their shows and brought entertainment

to people who did or did not have regular access to amusement. The transition from preindustrial to

industrial society confronted them with new opportunities and constraints, inciting permanent

adaptations of their trajectories and shows. While they are often dismissed sideways as folklorist

remnants of a bygone age or as 'beggars in disguise', this research aims to explore the relative success

of their cultural repertoires and income strategies in their own right in a period of societal

transformation. Using repressive sources on the one hand and requests and permissions for itinerant

performances on the other hand as the main source materials, this research project aims to establish a

balanced, comparative and long-term view on both the relative success of their survival strategies and

their cultural importance during the transition from preindustrial to industrial society, with due

attention for dynamics of social differentiation, professionalization, commercialisation, the expansion

of urban leisure facilities and changing migration policies.
Effectieve start/einddatum1/10/1230/09/16


  • history

Flemish discipline codes

  • Other philosophy, ethics and religious studies not elsewhere classified