The Society for Social and Economic History (Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, GSWG) and the Economic History Committee of the Verein für Socialpolitik (Wirtschaftshistorischer Ausschuss des Vereins für Socialpolitik, VfS) jointly organise a conference on Territories, States and Nation in Economic and Social History to be held in Vienna on 7-9 April 2021.
Session organisers: Maria Stella Chiaruttini, Clemens Jobst (University of Vienna)
For modern historians the 19th century has been an era of nation building, while financial historians regard it as the formative period of modern financial markets. The development of new financial institutions and instruments was a genuinely transnational phenomenon. At the same time, however, financial development often intermingled with state formation, as states aimed at creating integrated domestic markets to further economic growth. Moreover, the establishment of new territorial states like Germany or Italy created, by definition, new markets by integrating within a common legislative and economic framework different territories that had been previously independent or belonged to other states and economic systems.
In terms of money, state building in the 19th century coincided with the creation of standardised, national currency systems replacing the monetary heterogeneity within state borders prevalent in previous times. But political and financial integration did not always proceed hand in hand, especially as regards banking, which proved a contentious issue. The creation of a uniform, centralised national banking system could level the playing field between regions, doing away with interest rate differentials, encouraging capital flows and fostering growth in both core and peripheral areas. However, the outflow of savings and the centralisation of economic decision making could also rekindle local resistance to the state’s centralising attempts. Discontent could focus on the new national state and its relationship with big financial players, as was the case in Italy, or be framed in terms of national discrimination, as in the Habsburg monarchy.
With this backdrop in mind, in this session we would like to explore in a comparative perspective questions of banking and monetary integration related to the territorial dimension of the state that have received only scant attention so far, namely
- the challenges of providing a uniform and standardised supply of coins and notes in both newly formed and pre-existing territorial states
- the creation of state-wide payment and clearing systems
- the role played by banks and monetary reforms in shaping a common financial market
- the regional dimension of commercial and central banking: the creation of bank branch networks, their aims, governance and business practices in relationship with local business communities as well as with the local and central authorities
- the regional banking policies of the state and their possibly conflicting goals (e.g. local economic development, support to fiscal or monetary policies, sharing of power between central government and local elites).
We welcome contributions on all countries from the late 18th to the early 20th century. We also warmly encourage submissions from young scholars.
If you are interested, please send us – either in German or English – a short CV together with a provisional title and abstract (around 200 words) of your contribution by 17 August. The submission of the entire panel comprising 3–4 papers for the conference is then due on 28 September.