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Historical and International Comparison of Business Interest Associations

19th-20th Centuries


Edited By Danièle Fraboulet-Rousselier, Andrea Maria Locatelli and Paolo Tedeschi

This book brings together selected essays on European Business Interest Associations (BIAs) as important components of European social and economic development over the last 150 years. The studies were originally presented at the 2012 World Economic History Congress, organized in association with an international research programme on BIAs in Europe. They adopt a historical research methodology with the aim of updating previous scholarship from within the social sciences; they also look at a number of different European countries, allowing for a comparative approach. They explore the roots and identity of BIAs, analyse their activities and examine their financing sources and strategies. Some essays discuss the decline of the old system of craft guilds and the emergence of new forms of economic organization and representation: new BIAs had to contend with the development of the trade unions and the growth of state economic interventionism and so they progressively increased their activities in order to serve European companies. Other essays present specific national examples of the evolution of BIAs throughout the twentieth century and also look at the development of Eurofederations.


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Introduction. Historical and International Comparison of Business Interest Associations (19th-20th Centuries) (Danièle Fraboulet)


11 INTRODUCTION Historical and International Comparison of Business Interest Associations (19th-20th Centuries) The papers published in this volume were presented at the session number 168 of the 16th World Economic History Congress (WEHC) which was held in July 2012 in Stellenbosch (South Africa). It was dedicated to the “Historical and international comparison of Business Interest Associations (19th-20th centuries)”1. It was also part of a five- year, large-scale research project on Business Interest Associations (hereafter BIAs) started in 2009 by French academics and supporting institutions2. The project involved historians from around Europe forming a dedicated scientific committee and collaborating on research of interna- tional and interdisciplinary significance. Developments concerning BIAs had previously been examined by political scientists and sociologists in isolation, and therefore did not present satisfactory historical and cross- border perspectives. It was utterly appropriate, then, that historians and social scientists conducted a mutually beneficial comparative inquiry into the history of BIAs in Europe. At the time of writing, the project continues apace. Its goal remains the provision of comprehensive studies of BIAs as major components of the European social model and the democratic State in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The program is designed to clarify and elucidate, through historical approaches, the strategies adopted by unions, profes- sional societies, chambers of commerce, trade organisations, clubs, and a variety of miscellaneous groups in their efforts to promote and defend business interests. It investigates the genesis of the BIAs, the historical context of their creation, their functions and the geographical...

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