Achttiende Eeuw 38 (2006) nr.2: Themanummer 'Sociabiliteit'
Bert de Munck
‘Motieven en vertogen van het middenveld. (Vroeg)moderne verenigingen in het middenveld tussen civil society en sociaal kapitaal’
In dit themanummer wordt het achttiende- en negentiende-eeuwse verenigingsleven vanuit diverse hoeken belicht. Het onderzoek naar de geschiedenis van sociabiliteit en het verenigingsleven heeft vaak aandacht besteed aan culturele factoren. De vroegmoderne periode leent zich uitstekend tot het situeren van organisaties als schuttersgilden, broederschappen en rederijkerskamers in een spanningsveld tussen populaire cultuur enerzijds en een zich distantiërende elite anderzijds. In de loop van de achttiende eeuw groeide het culturele verenigingsleven bovendien steeds meer uit tot een autonoom en zelfstandig veld, dat zich van religieuze en politieke structuren losrukte. Verenigingen blijven echter fundamenteel ingebed in een sociale, economische en politiek-ideologische context. Vanuit die overtuiging werden voor dit themanummer een aantal historici aangezocht om te reflecteren over de relatie van achttiende-eeuwse verenigingen met vooral economische, sociale en politiekideologische structuren. Er werd daarbij aangedrongen op een interdisciplinaire aanpak, met onder meer aandacht voor concepten uit de economie en de sociologie. Hierna worden enkel case-studies gepresenteerd van jonge onderzoekers die op de uitdaging zijn ingegaan en waarin het verenigingsleven vooral in verband wordt gebracht met sociale, economische en politieke motieven. Zonder een inleiding te willen zijn, zal in dit openend essay gereflecteerd worden over enkele belangrijke concepten van sociale en politieke aard waarmee het verenigingsleven op dit ogenblik wordt benaderd.
‘“Het nooden van de Heeren”. Een verkenning van verticale relatienetwerken en patronage in de
Antwerpse, Brusselse en Gentse corporatieve wereld’
This article discusses patron-client networks in urban politics in Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent. For the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there is ample evidence that members of craft guilds in these cities were able to use such networks to exert further political influence. Gift-giving (often food and drink) and inviting members of the city council to guild feasts played a vital role in this process. In the eighteenth century, this climate of cooperation slowly changed, largely under pressure from the central governement. Gift-giving and other forms of friendly interaction between craft guild masters and city officials were being curtailed as the governement in Brussels tried to limit the influence of local political networks.
Tine De Moor
‘Het belang van participatie voor economische sociabiliteit. Gemene gronden in het Vlaanderen van de achttiende en negentiende
In this article the importance of participation for the study of economic sociability is illustrated by means of a case study, a common in eighteenth century Flanders. Common land was still quite widespread in northwestern Europe in the eighteenth century, though it came under increasing pressure from governments to dissolve and privatise. The study shows how the changing background of the commoners led to a shift in their participatory behaviour and consequently in the management of the common land. The commoners’ behaviour changed in different ways: they became less active on the common and their subscription to become commoner was often postponed until later. These and other indicators show that the common’s position changed from a pivotal part of the agricultural chain – e.g. for its pasture and the production of manure– to an insurance for old-age. The analysis of their social-economic background shows that the group of commoners was composed increasingly out of wage labourers, instead of independent farmers. This occupational shift had a profound influence on the management of the common: from the 1820s onwards the managers of the commons leased out increasingly plots of land. Beforehand a refined price mechanism to regulate the level of cattle units – adjusted to the amount of resources available – was used. Whereas in the eighteenth century the commoners managed to achieve a fairly stable exploitation level, they now lost control – both in qualitative and quantitative terms – over the use of the common. The lesser interest of the commoners in the use of the common was probably also responsible for a lower degree of social control, thus urging the managers to appoint external controllers. The article shows the high impact of the members’ participation on institutions of economic sociability and explains how changes in the social-economic background of the members of such institutions in the late eighteenth century were responsible for a fundamental change in the management of these institutions.
‘Informele netwerken van de zakenelite in Antwerpen, 1796-1830’
The basic assumption of this article is the question whether membership of voluntary associations can be used to build up and reinforce economic contacts and relations. The importance of informal networks for economic performance is checked by looking at the membership of the business élite in voluntary associations in Antwerp during the period 1796-1830. This case-study is particulary interesting because it considers a period of reconversion of the Antwerp economy after the reopening of the river Scheldt in 1796, offering favourable perspectives for international maritime trade. The scope of the relation network (being local or international) seems to have been of particular importance for the economic choices of the selected businessmen in the city. This case study reveals that there can be drawn a parallel with the informal networks these businessmen build up through associational life in this ‘young’ port town.
‘‘De nieuwe Pygmalion’. Carrièrestrategieën van de Franse beeldhouwer Joseph Chinard
The sculptor Joseph Chinard managed to build a successful career. To name just a few of his achievements: he was laureate of the prestigious Concorso Balestra, exhibited at the Parisian Salon, became the quasi official portraitist of the Bonaparte family and worked at the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Although Chinard worked in Paris, he remained closely associated to the provincial milieu of his native city Lyons and stayed independent from the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture, located in Paris. Without the support of this academy, Chinard had to overcome certain difficulties on the road to success.
Chinard managed to survive by constantly changing his style, according to the wishes of his patrons. For this reason, he did not work in his favorite style, which was closely related to the French Rococo. He adjusted his style to the severe Neo-classical style, which became en vogue at the end of the eighteenth century. Changing attitudes towards the classical heritage of ancient Greece and Rome, and cultural politics of the subsequent governments certainly played an influential role on Chinard’s career choices. Furthermore, certain specific events affected his working methods and style. For example, his two stays in Rome, his incarceration (both in Rome and in Lyons), the patronage of Napoleon Bonaparte and Chinard’s Salon contributions all influenced his work. In addition, Chinard’s strategic struggle to achieve a successful career (including his will to survive) and his never ending search to receive the same kind of recognition and fame as his well-known colleague Antonio Canova explain why Chinard changed his style as thoroughly as he did.