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Rescuing the Vulnerable: Poverty, Welfare and Social Ties in Modern Europe

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Volume 27

International Studies in Social History

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Rescuing the Vulnerable

Poverty, Welfare and Social Ties in Modern Europe

Edited by Beate Althammer, Lutz Raphael, and Tamara Stazic-Wendt

438 pages, 15 illus., 9 Figures and tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-136-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-137-4 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $39.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…a readable collection of interesting case studies on a topic likely to interest many political sociologists, historians, area specialists, and scholars of poverty and welfare in both the social sciences and the humanities… The breadth and innovative use of archival and literary sources make the work overall a trove of interesting ideas for comparative and historical researchers.” • Contemporary Sociology

“This volume’s focus on the young, the homeless, and the unemployed is particularly welcome given the limited amount of scholarship within histories of poverty and welfare on these groups. The book’s underlying principles are of universal significance and will be of interest to the general reader of welfare history.” • Olwen Purdue, Queen’s University Belfast


In many ways, the European welfare state constituted a response to the new forms of social fracture and economic turbulence that were born out of industrialization—challenges that were particularly acute for groups whose integration into society seemed the most tenuous. Covering a range of national cases, this volume explores the relationship of weak social ties to poverty and how ideas about this relationship informed welfare policies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By focusing on three representative populations—neglected children, the homeless, and the unemployed—it provides a rich, comparative consideration of the shifting perceptions, representations, and lived experiences of social vulnerability in modern Europe.

Beate Althammer is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Trier and a visiting lecturer at the University of Lüneburg. She is author of Das Bismarckreich 1871-1890 (2009) and co-editor of the volumes Bettler und Vaganten in der Neuzeit (1500-1933) (2013) and The Welfare State and the “Deviant Poor” in Europe, 1870-1933 (2014).

Lutz Raphael is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Trier. His recent books include Imperiale Gewalt und Mobilisierte Nation: Europa 1914-1945 (2011) and (together with Altay Coskun) Fremd und rechtlos?: Zugehörigkeitsrechte Fremder von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Ein Handbuch (2014).

Tamara Stazic-Wendt is a doctoral student at the University of Trier and is currently completing her dissertation on unemployment in rural Germany during the interwar period. Her recent publications include “The ‘New Morocco’ Settlement between Trier and Euren, Germany: Drawing Boundaries and Constructing Deviance, 1925-1933” in The Welfare State and the “Deviant Poor” in Europe, 1870-1933 (2014).

Subject: History (General) Sociology
Area: Europe


Figures and Tables

Introduction: Poverty and Endangered Social Ties: An Introduction
Beate Althammer and Tamara Stazic-Wendt

Chapter 1. Poverty and Social Bonds: Towards a Theory of Attachment Regimes
Serge Paugam


Chapter 2. Living at the Edge of Society: Wallchian Orphans in Nineteenth-Century Bucharest
Nicoleta Roman

Chapter 3. Orphans, Pauper Children or Wayward Children? The Lives of Children Cared for by Public Institutons in Hamburg, 1892-1914
Katharina Brandes

Chapter 4. The Reduction of Poverty Starts with Children: Swiss Societies for Educating the Poor in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Ernst Guggisberg

Chapter 5. Compassion for the Distant Other: Children's Hunger and Humanitarian Relief in the Aftermath of the Great War
Frederike Kind-Kovács


Chapter 6. Traditional Mobility and Solidarity in Crisis: Jeremias Gotthelf's Response to Pauperism in the Vormärz
Andrew Cusack

Chapter 7. Controlling Vagrancy: Germany, England and France, 1880-1914
Beate Althammer

Chapter 8. The Prolbem of Homelessness in Postwar Britain
Tehila Sasson


Chapter 9. 'United Idle Men with Idle Land': The Evolution of the Hollesley Bay Training Farm Experiment for the London Unemployed, 1905-1908
Elizabeth A. Scott

Chapter 10. An Unbearable Social Existence: The Unemployed in Rural Poor Relief (Germany, 1918-1933)
Tamara Stazic-Wendt

Chapter 11. How Unemployment was Normalized by the Establishment of Public Labour Exchanges in Austria, 1918-1938
Irina Vana

Chapter 12. The Poor Unemployed: Diagnoses of Unemployment in Britain and West Germany in the 1970s and 1980s
Wiebke Wiede


Chapter 13. Voices from the Lower Depths: Russian Poor in Their Own Words
Hubertus Jahn

Chapter 14. 'They Sit for Days and Have Only Their Sorrow to Eat': Old Age Poverty in German and British Pauper Narratives
Andreas Gestrich and Daniela Heinisch

Chapter 15. Seen With Their Own Eyes: Self-Presentation of the Poor in Freiburg and Schwerin, 1950-1975
Dorothee Lürbke

Conclusion: The Twisted Paths of Recognition and Protection: Vulnerability and Welfare in European Societies
Lutz Raphael


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