History and Society
1950s in Europe
Bild: RUB, Kramer
Bild: RUB, Kramer

Research. A new research programme at the Ruhr-University will focus on Europes social history.

Earlier this year Dr Jan De Graaf received the Sofja-Kovalevskaja-Prize for his research project. This includes a financial support of 1.64 million Euro and is awarded by the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Stiftung to help with a specific research project: In this case ‘‘the research programme studies European society ‚the long 1950s‘ - the period between the onset of the Cold War in 1947/48 and the re-emergence of socio-political contestation in the mid-1960s - from a social history perspective’’, as Dr De Graaf, who is from the Netherlands and studied History in Utrecht, explains. In more detail, he describes the aim of the research project as follows: ‘‘This era is nowadays often regarded as a ‚golden age‘ of social harmony and increased life chances, described as the ‚postwar consensus‘. The programme aims to challenge such rosy accounts and posits that the postwar consensus was based on struggle. Its specific focus lies on the two key themes that have come to be associated with the postwar consensus: social cohesion and social mobility.’’

The research will take place at the ‘Institut für soziale Bewegungen‘ in Bochum. Dr De Graaf argues that the Ruhr-University is an excellent place to do this research, explaining that the ‘Institut für soziale Bewegungen‘ has wide-ranging expertise in this field of study and is well-connected in the European research community. A research group will be set up that will include two Ph.D. students as well as two post-doctorals who will start their studies at the Ruhr-University in early 2020.  One of each will focus on social cohesion, while the other two will focus on social mobility.
 ‘‘It is important to mention that the research programme has a pan-European scope, and that at least three of the four projects will be comparing cases from communist Eastern Europe with those from capitalist Western Europe’’, explains Dr De Graaf.                   

:Charleena Schweda