Integration of a region: Networks and transfer processes in early modern Northern Europe

Dagmar Freist (Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg / Germany)

The planned research project "Integration of a region: Networks and transfer processes in 17th and 18th century Northern Europe" is set up as an interdisciplinary and European project. At its core lies the question of the economic, social, and cultural impact of transcultural networks that evolved since the early 17th century through migration, especially from the southern Netherlands, as well as through trade between the aspiring metropolises London, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Stockholm. 'Transcultural networks' refers to the connexion of existing networks across national, cultural and social boundaries, brought about by trade and migration. To be examined is the process of network formation as well as the effects these emerging transcultural networks had on equipoised forms of both social and political interaction and values in the cities mentioned. These emerging transcultural networks are regarded as basis for an intercultural transfer originating in the social interaction within these new networks and influencing thinking patterns, habitus, and lifestyle (consumer behaviour, tastes, connoisseurship, etc.).

The project emphasises the importance of transcultural resp. transnational/-regional influences for social transformation processes in the 17th and 18th century against the background of migration and economic integration, offering orientation patterns for understanding of current social and economical transformation processes in the era of "globalisation". To be expected is both a differentiation of so far prevalent national-historically aligned factors of social transformation and the development of new transcultural resp. transnational socialisation patterns. The research project integrates into the newer cultural transfer research as well as into a transnationally aligned economical and social history  and thereby complements classic Comparistics through examination of interferences and integration. The methological and theoretical framework is formed by recent concepts of cultural transfer and social transformation theories, complemented by networking theory approaches and Bourdieus' habitus concept. The research project will be part of a European research cooperation between five countries (France, Netherlands, Great Britain, Sweden, Germany). The common exploratory focus is "Networks, Economic and Social Interaction and Cultural Transfer in early modern Northern Europe" (NESICT).