2004
Volume 124, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

This article evaluates social protest in Belgium during the First World War. Even more than elsewhere in Europe, the war temporarily reversed the shift from old forms of collective action (e.g. food riots) to new ones (e.g. strikes). This reversal of long-term trends was caused by specific features of the German occupation. The capitalist national market disintegrated. The earliest and most industrialized country on the European continent de-industrialized, and agriculture became once again the basis of the economy. The authority of the state weakened dramatically. Political organisations and unions became less active. Life once again took place mostly within a local framework. Informal horizontal ties among neighbours and vertical power relations between local elites and village and city residents regained importance. Confronted with scarcity, earlier forms of collective action (e.g. food riots), local in focus, were revived in order to defend people’s entitlement to food.

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2011-02-01
2022-01-20
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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