W3VL: Labor History Logo Conferences

Consumption Constrained: Austerity and Rationing in the 20th Century

Tartu (Est)
28 - 29 April 2007

The twentieth century has witnessed a multitude of attempts in different national settings to constrain consumption with a view to the fulfillment of a variety of different economic agendas. Usually this has happened in response to a perceived state of crisis such as that brought about by the prosecution of war, or the assumption of power by authoritarian regimes or by occupying powers. These and other extraordinary circumstances have given rise to measures intended to conserve supplies, to re-direct resources (to re-armament or industrialisation, for example), to maintain survival rations, or to ensure the fair distribution of goods. The scope and shape of such schemes, their relative success or failure, the modes of their subversion, and their intended and unintended consequences might all provide useful starting points for discussion. It is hoped to explore a range of historical moments and geographical contexts, as well as different political frameworks and ideologies. These could include the USSR 1920-22 or 1941-45, Europe during World War I or II, South America or the Middle East. Proposals are welcomed which address any of the following or related themes. * Meanings of austerity, nation-building and foundation legends * Commonalities and disparities; democracies and dictatorships * Illicit activities, survival strategies, the 'black market' * Standards of living and product standards * State measures and acts of resistance; adaptation The organising team are Olaf Mertelsmann (Tartu), Orit Rozin (Tel Aviv) and Lesley Whitworth (Brighton). Tartu is located 185 km south of the Estonian capital Tallinn and might be reached during three hours from Tallinn. Please send proposals of no more than 350 words and a short CV to: austerity@ut.ee by 20 December 2006.

Last updated 13 November 2006