Archived call for papers: MHRG annual workshop 2017 – People’s History Museum, Manchester July 10-11

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME – Draft programme now available (click link below):

MHRG Schedule 2017 FINAL DRAFT v.2

BOOK OF ABSTRACTS – All abstracts


PANEL ANNOUNCEMENT – The 2nd day of the conference will include a special discussion panel on contemporary and historical management of universities, featuring Professor Bill Cooke (York), Professor Thomas Docherty (Warwick), Professor Mary Evans (LSE), and Professor Stuart Jones (Manchester).


Professor Hannah Barker, University of Manchester

Professor Stephen Linstead, University of York

 Workshop theme: Breakpoints, Crises and Histories of the People

“Nothing is so astounding as the vitality of the social organism – how it persists, feeding itself, clothing itself, amusing itself, in the face of the worst calamities.”

John Scott Ten Days that Shook the World, (1977: 117)

It seems increasingly commonplace for ‘everyday life’ to be framed in terms of emergency, crisis and disaster. Is the election of Donald Trump a calamity for the United States and the world? Will Brexit be a calamity for Britain? Shocks to the body politic such as financial collapses, wars, revolutions and unexpected election results invite speculation about opportunities, crises and impending disasters. ‘Hinges of history’ are supposedly swinging this way and that.

But, as John Scott above reminds us, even amid the historical breakpoint of 1917, somehow social life persists and develops. The field of social history has played a vital role in decentring the privileged narratives of ‘great white men’ of history, instead emphasizing the often hidden, silenced, or side-lined voices of ‘the people’. Recognising that ‘history is never for itself, it is always for someone’ (Jenkins, 1991/ 2003: 21), the Management History Research Group’s annual workshop will be based around the theme of ‘breakpoints, crises, and histories of the people’.

The word ‘crisis’ is derived from the Greek word krisis which variously means an unstable situation, a judgement, or a turning point in a disease. Bodies die, but the social organism often survives. What persists is remembered in the texts, documents, writings, images and constructions of social memory. The Peoples’ History Museum in Manchester is thus the ideal location for the hosting of this workshop.

The workshop will ask who or what is ‘the people’ and what is its relationship to ‘management’, especially in times of crisis? How, and in what ways, can management and the people be understood historically? Is a ‘people’s history’ (see for example Zinn, 2003) oppositional or complementary to management history? What historical, sociological, and anthropological methods can be applied to make sense of the interactions of management and the people in writing informed and reflexive historical narratives of the continuities and changes associated with crises and turning points?

The Middletown studies in Muncie, Indiana (Lynd & Lynd 1929 / 1956) or the Worktown studies of Bolton, Lancashire (see Hilton, 2008; Stanley, 2007), perhaps provide interesting examples. Both these industrial towns were deeply affected by the financial crisis of 1929 and the depression of the Thirties, prefiguring the decades of industrial ‘restructuring’ that have ravaged these towns from the 1980s to the present day. Socially-informed management history involves the intersection of numerous disciplines: business history, social history, industrial and urban sociology, and social anthropology among others.  The Management History Research Group embraces interdisciplinary approaches in what promises to be an exciting and collegial event.

The MHRG annual workshop is a friendly, economical and academically open venue for the presentation of research in the field of management history, broadly defined. Papers that relate to the workshop theme or any other topic in management history are welcome.

There are two main types of submission:

1) Full Papers of around 4,000-8,000 words, excluding references. These papers will be circulated in advance to the participants at the workshop and will be allocated longer slots in the schedule.

2) Developmental Papers/Presentations. Please submit an abstract of c.250 words, excluding references.

We also welcome expressions of interest to organize panels around specific topics; roundtables; debates; or technical / methodological panels.

We particularly encourage PhD students and those who have not attended the MHRG before to submit. The MHRG is a supportive and developmental environment for the presentation of research.

The deadline for submissions is 30 May 2017. Decisions on acceptance will be issued by 5 June 2017. Please email submissions and any queries to:

Full registration fee including evening dinner on 10th July is £110. Reduced rate for PhD students and retired delegates is £65.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Kind regards

MHRG Workshop Committee


Hinton, J., (2008) ‘The “Class Complex”: Mass-Observation and Cultural Distinction in Pre-War Britain’, Past and Present, 199 (1): 207-236

Jenkins, K., (1991 / 2003) Re-thinking History, London: Routledge

Lynd, R.S. and Lynd, H.M. (1929 /1956) Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture, San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Scott, J., (1919 /1977) Ten Days that Shook the World, London: Penguin

Stanley, L., (2007) ‘Mass-Observation’s Fieldwork Methods’, in Atkinson et al, eds., (2007) Handbook of Ethnography, London: Sage

Zinn, H., (2003) A People’s History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: Harper & Row