Technology and the Making of Europe

Working papers

The Tensions of Europe/Inventing Europe Working Papers Series has two related aims:

1. to provide an internet environment for the exchange of ideas and research findings among scholars in the Tensions of Europe Network and in the four projects funded through the ESF Collaborative Research Programme “Inventing Europe: Technology in the Making of Europe, 1850 to the Present”

2. to provide an internet platform for intellectual debate between Tensions of Europe/Inventing Europe and the broader intellectual and policy-making community.

The editors of the working papers series invite contributions from scholars participating in the Tensions of Europe network and the Inventing Europe program as well as from other scholars whose work addresses issues pertinent to Tensions of Europe/Inventing Europe.

Instructions for authors

For details, contact the editor: Helena Durnová (, Masaryk University, Brno (Czech Republic)  

Recommended citation of the working papers:

[author] [title], Tensions of Europe and Inventing Europe Working Paper series, working paper No. yyyy/ nn, accessible online at



Marija Dremaite (ed.) (2011). Housing in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in 1850-2010: Review of Historiography

The current decade witnessed growing interest in the post war housing in Europe with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe. Research of housing in these countries provided international scholarship with fresh insights especially in the field of comparative perspective: East-West technological relations, appropriation of Soviet directives, and innovations of local expertise. Local histories open the possibility to see other dimensions, local variations and regional adoptions, and are able to change the established narrative frames. The review covers historiography of housing studies (mostly written in local languages) in Central Eastern/North Eastern region (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland) which did not receive much of international attention in the housing research so far. These countries are taken as a region, which in the course of the 1850-2000 experienced comparable historical contexts: annexation to Russian Empire during the 19th century, national revivals in the inter-war years (1918-1940), and exposure to the Soviet power in the post-war period and post-Soviet recovery in the housing field.

Karin Taylor (2011). From trips to modernity to holidays in nostalgia: tourism history in eastern and southeastern Europe

Abstract:  The development of tourism in Eastern Europe as a leisure industry and popular recreational practice followed many trends typical for the countries of Western European from the late 19th century. However, large parts of the eastern continent, Southeast Europe especially, had a majority rural population until well after 1945 and going on holiday was a practice limited to a small urban elite. The establishment of socialist governments in what became known as the “socialist bloc” after World War II led to the promotion of state-supported tourism for the “masses”. Despite efforts to organize tourism for domestic and international tourists according to socialist economic principles, tourism represented a dynamic factor that pushed ideological standpoints on consumption in general.This essay gives an account of tourism development in Eastern Europe from the mid-19thcentury to late 20thcentury “transition” to a market economy, focusing on the countries of Southeast Europe: the plans of domestic tourism experts, the holiday activities of citizens, the role of tourism in national agendas and international political agreements.

M. Luisa Sousa (2010). Constructing (auto)mobility system in a peripheral European country in the 1930s visions and realities of the authoritarian Portugal

The 1930s watched two simultaneous and apparently opposed trends: the rising of authoritarian regimes in several European countries and an intensive cooperation between international governmental and non-governmental organizations in settling common standards and policies. Reflecting automobile’s main use in the first decades of the twentieth century, leisure (and not transport in a strictly utilitarian sense), even in developed/central countries, one cannot ignore the roles of non-governmental organisations related to tourism (AIT – Alliance International du Tourisme) or to automobile sports (AIACR – Association Internationale des Automobiles-Clubs Reconnus) in establishing standards for elements of the ‘automobile system’ in issues such as road signs and international circulation (the issuing of documents such as the ‘carnet de passage en douane’). There were also other important transnational organizations, governmental and non-governmental, which contributed to the construction of this system, such as a more technical organization on roads (AIPCR, Association Internationale Permanente des Congrès de la Route) (Schipper, 2008).

Aristoteles Tympas (2010). Researching the History of Technology in Europe, Making Contact with European Research in Historical Informatics: A Conversation between the TOE/IE and the ‘Papyrus’ Research Agendas


Research Collaboration Session presented 4th Tensions of Europe Plenary Conference & Closing ESF Inventing Europe Conference, Sofia University, Bulgaria, June 17‐20, 2010

Jíra Janác (2010). Constructing central europe through waterways

The concept of Hidden integration (Schot, Misa 2005) focuses, among other issues, on the construction of a range of Europes through its embedding in infrastructures. The construction of transnational networks on the continent was promoted by various  actors with the help of often contradictory framed European integration concepts. Central Europe is one of these frames. While it is neglected in the standard EU/EEC integration narratives, here it is put central into the picture as one of the Europe integrating concepts. Proposed contribution consist of case study of the designing process of the Danube-Oder-Elbe canal as a laboratory of visions of (Central) European integration at work in the interwar period. 

After the breakup of the Austrian empire in 1918 newly born states in the middle of the continent as well as various formerly imperial and suddenly (trans-)national actor is felt the pressing need for some kind of economic integration. From the mid-1920s organizations aimed at variously defined continent-wide or regional cooperation strove to pull down the barriers raised to control the national territories. All these developments casted profound effect on the planning and designing of the Central European waterway network –a network so far rather chimerical, because waterways on the continent were divided into the two isolated systems of Rheine and the Danube River. Thus, the crucial part of the project was the construction of the interconnection overcoming the main European watershed. Besides the RheineMain-Danube Canal the Danube–Oder-Elbe connection. gained prominence as the best possible solution. Regarding the latter, already in the 1917 promoters of various interested organizations met in Prague and Warsaw to discuss the basic dimensions of the proposed network – especially standard measures of vessels, which were actually quite different on the Elbe, Oder and the Danube. However, in the course of time diverse concepts and visions of Europe divided the originally cooperating actors. 
Vienna based organization of Mitteleuropäischer Wirtschaftstag (MWT-1926) paid some attention to the unification of the Central European waterway network, and so did Mitteleuropa-Institut (MI), established in Budapest, Vienna and Brno in 1928. While the former promoted the Naumann’s Pan-German Mitteleuropa project, the latter aimed at re-creation of ties interrupted by the breakup of the Danube monarchy. Furthermore, the League of Nations and the Permanent Association of International Navigation Congresses operated on the continent-wide scale –both 
officially universal, but dominated by European actors. In the course of the 1930’s, Czechoslovak engineers working on the Danube-OderElbe canal project cooperated with all these organizations. For instance, Antonín Smrček, professor at the Brno University of Technology, was the main speaker at the first conference ever organized by MI in 1929 and a year later at similar event promoted by MWT. While the idea of the canal was generally accepted as possibly beneficial to national economy, for geopolitical reasons it has been generally neglected by government. 
This paper attempts to make clear how these conflicting demands were actually aligned in the technical lay-out of the canal and how the Central European network has been designed before the 1939. 

Joris Mercelis (2010). ‘American Plastic’ in Europe? Leo Baekeland’s Transatlantic Strategy for Bakelite


The Belgian-born scientist-entrepreneur Leo H. Baekeland (1863-1944) had had been living in America for almost twenty years and acquired the American nationality when he, in June 1907, made crucial breakthroughs in his private laboratory and filed his first patent applications on a material called ‘Bakelite’. Baekeland and his American peers, particularly the industrial chemists who ‘crusaded’ for public recognition and government protection, were eager to argue that the phenolic plastics industry, initiated by the commercialization of Bakelite, had been ‘American in its conception and origin’. Pushed by the outbreak of the First World War and the accompanying scarcities, they aimed to demonstrate their independence from the German chemical concerns which had dominated international markets. Moreover, their success in plastics arguably showed the ability of American chemists, chemical engineers and businessmen to pioneer a ‘science-based’ industry of their own.

Dimitrios Ziakkas (2010). Adaptation to international aviation trends and competition of technical protocols in the Balkans

No abstract available

Frank Dittmann (2010). Microelectronics under Socialism

A key area in which the two Super Powers during the Cold War fought their economic battle was the field of microelectronics and computer technology. In the Detente period of the 1970s legal trading contacts were formed allowing high tech Western products into the USSR and other COMECON countries. Around 1980 this situation radically changed because after being elected Ronald Reagan tightened the embargo conditions. One reason was the movement of Red Army troops into Afghanistan in December 1979 and the threatening intervention of the Soviet Union in Poland after the sharpening of the political situation there. The Reagan Administration considered high technology as an important competitive field in which the USA and the West could outpace the East. With the tightened embargo the flow of technology into the East allowing large-scale integration dropped off. In the mid 1980s only the USSR and GDR tried to continue their development of a semiconductor industry because only these COMECON countries had the ability to work in semiconductor highest integration. This paper is focused on these two countries and discusses examples of illegal technology transfer from West to East in the 1980s. At a more global level the first story deals with the flow of high tech equipment for VLSI chip production into the USSR, while the second example tells a more detailed story about the attempted development of a microelectronic industry in the GDR capable of producing VLSI circuits.

Sean Nicklin (2010). Formal and Informal Governance of Civil Aviation across the Iron Curtain: The Case of Czechoslovakian Airlines (CSA) 1945-1970

The official airline of Czechoslovakia, CSA was, after Aeroflot, the largest airline in the communist world in the decades after 1945, with respect to passenger numbers and number of destinations. Yet it suffered from political and economic restrictions as a result of the Cold War, primarily directed by the United States and its West European allies. Between 1945 and 1955, Czechoslovakia and CSA were alternately the recipients of Western aid or castigation depending on political alignments within the larger geopolitical struggle. Governance, both formal and informal, played a crucial role in this matter, sometimes helping and sometimes hindering the development of civil aviation in Czechoslovakia.


This paper will use CSA as a case study to explore the formal and informal governance of civil aviation between East and West Europe between 1945 and 1970. Aviation links between Czechoslovakia and Western Europe began in the interwar era, with regular service between Prague and major cities such as London and Paris. Czechoslovakia was interested in restoring those links after the Second World War. It resumed flights to West European cities, gained the right to fly to the U.S., and was a charter member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). West European nations initially welcomed the re-establishment of aviation connections with Czechoslovakia. Prior to the 1948 coup that cemented communist control over the Czechoslovakian government, the U.S. encouraged this growth and provided a large number of aircraft. Yet it will be shown that, following the 1948 coup, and within the larger context of U.S. containment policy, CSA faced a growing range of restrictions on supply of aircraft, access to fuel, parts, repair service, and routes to Western European destinations. The way in which the US interacted with its Western

European allies in fostering such restriction will be detailed, as well as the response of CSA, the Czech government, and the Soviet government. The behaviour of neutral states will also be considered, as their responses to growing polarization also affected CSA’s routes and operations. Factors shaping patterns of airline travel on CSA between East and West Europe, such as the growth of tourism in the 1960s, will also be analyzed. Overall, it will be shown that the systematic isolation of CSA by Western nations drove Czechoslovakia closer to the Soviet Union for support in many areas, including its aviation program. Soviet aid ultimately helped Czechoslovakia build a strong airline, but only after the U.S. containment policy had left it with little alternative.

Alla S. Lytvynko (2010). Specificity of scientific relations of Ukraine physicists with scientists in Western Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries

In connection with the development of the steam-engine finding the critical values was one of the most important problems in physics during the 1870s and—1880s. Mikhail Avenarius, professor at Kiev University and the founder in 1874 the first research laboratory for Experimental Physics in Ukraine made a significant contribution to molecular physics and the study of critical state of matter. In 1862-1864 he was sent abroad to Berlin and Paris. In 1865 M. Avenarius defended his dissertation and became the head of the Department of Physics in Kiev University. Since 1873 he focused on studying of liquid and vapor under changing of temperature and pressure. The most successful period of the Avenarius laboratory was 1877- 1886. Despite difficult conditions, Kiev laboratory works received recognition. During the period 1875-1889 M. Avenarius with his disciples V. Zayonchevsky, O. Straus, K. Zhuk and O. Nadyezhdin performed a series of studies of critical values for many substances that are included in the basic foundation of physical values and long remained unchanged. M. Avenarius also established a formula for heat expansion of liquids, which determined the change in fluid volume, and first indicated that the in critical point the hidden heat of evaporation is zero. The first direct determination of the critical temperature of water was done in 1885 by the pupil of M. Avenarius O. Nadyezhdin with the use of a device invented by him: the differential densimeter.

Nuno Miguel Lima (2010). Transnational railways and politics in the Iberian Peninsula during the 19th century

When addressing the establishment of transnational railway infrastructures, historians commonly focus on politics and economy as decisive factors. The Portuguese and Spanish historiographies are no exception. The arguments that justified the construction of the five connections between the two nations are indisputable evidences of the importance of those factors. The primary issue to be taken into account is the difference between the Portuguese and the Spanish strategies in developing their respective national railway networks. The Portuguese strategy had two main objectives: connecting Lisbon with the second most important urban centre, Oporto;providing the capital with a connection with Madrid, and subsequently with Europe. On the contrary, the Spanish policy intended to link Madrid with the peripheral regions of the country defining, therefore, a radial network. Hence, as a result of the different national strategies, the opening of the first connection [Elvas–Badajoz (1963)] points up that the Portuguese expectations were clearly depending on the Spanish strategy, a feature extensible to the Valença–Tuy (1886) and Barca de Alva–La Fregeneda (1887) connections, as well as to the ones not materialised.

The entrepreneurial motivations are the second issue we should consider. The Marvão–Valencia de Alcantara (1880) and Vilar Formoso–Fuentes de Oñoro (1882) connections are the result of two private initiatives organised by Spanish and French interests, respectively. The acceptance of the private intervention poses a different set of questions to be dealt with by each government since it may jeopardize the purpose of the politically defined lines.That is the case of the Barca de Alva–La Fregeneda connection, threatened by the intention of the Société Financière de Paris of privileging the Vilar Formoso–Fuentes de Oñoro connection. The Portuguese state was forced to intervene, promoting the creation of a private Company, in order to ensure that Oporto would have an independent connection with Madrid.

This portrait reveals how the political and economical decisions determined the definition of the transnational railway network in the Iberian Peninsula, which, by late 1880s, was definitely established. But, in face of its briefness, it demands for a thorough examination of the following subjects: What were the national railway strategies and how were they developed during the nineteenth century? What were the proposals of each state to the definition of the transnational linkages? What was the role of the bilateral commissions in defining those connections? What was the intervention of state and private companies in the construction and exploitation of the transnational network?

Finally, how were the public and private initiatives integrated in the entire Iberian railway network, namely what were the characteristics of its traffic? As a final subject, looking at the traffic is reaching the base of the process of connecting the two countries. Moreover, we’ll lay emphasis on the passengers’ statistics during this period as a way of searching for the effective appropriation of the space by the populations, surpassing the constraints of circulation posed by the existing borders and promoting the interchange of material and non-material goods.

Veera Nisonen (2010). Ideas and Discourses in the Making of European Research Politics: Challenging the Teleology of the “Big Science” Thesis

European cooperation in research and technology has typically been explained by the emergence of “Big Science”. According to the basic argument, increasingly massive, specialised and costly research programmes, resulting from the evolution of scientific practice, surpassed the capacities of individual states and made it necessary to combine resources at an international level. This paper argues that even though the objective of rationalisation and the limited national possibilities to realise projects in certain domains undoubtedly constituted important incentives for joint action, the arrival of “Big Science” does not provide an exhaustive explanation. It is also imperative to consider this within the wider analytical framework of the field in order to fully comprehend the action of the European Community within such.


The aim of my contribution, analysing the evolution of the EC’s policy role in research, is to counter the teleological narrative of the “Big Science” thesis. Instead of reducing emergence of the concept of common research policy into a rational and reactionary “European response” to uncontrollable external changes, it is seen as a complex historical process where various ideational conceptions were traded and used as political resources. The specific focus will be on the first attempts to widen the Community’s policy competence in research in the mid-1960’s. Here the social construction and discursive transmission of particularly three political and economic ideas is important: The first is the notion of “Big Science” itself, constantly employed in the political discourses on European research. The second is the conception of scientific research as a crucial element in industrial production and economic growth. This idea, developed especially within the OECD, emerged as a central argument for including research into the incipient European Economic Union. The third discourse is the one of the “technology gap” referring to the growing technological difference between Western Europe and the United States. This debate, by creating a puissant, though contested and equivocal, mental category of (Western) “Europe” threatened by an exterior technological challenge, not only contributed to the setting up of new European institutions and policies but also diversified the geo-economic reasoning of the Cold War contention.

Léonard Laborie (2010). Fragile Links, Frozen Identities. The Governance of the International Telecommunication Union during the Cold War and Europe (1947-1953)

While the Cold War is generally presented as an accelerative force regarding the European integration process during its early stage, this paper’s aim is to show how the ideological divide between East and West prevented from any reinforced cooperation to take place within the Western bloc in some technical fields during the years 1947 to 1953. Our case study will be on telecommunications networks. Despite its long apolitical tradition the International Telecommunication Union was immediately affected by the Cold War. At the same time it proved to be one of the very few technical organisations belonging to the United Nations system that the representatives of the Eastern bloc decided not to formally quit during the Cold War years (1947-1953). This mix was highly destabilizing for those who had, at this very moment, to decide whether or not to create a new European forum for international telecommunications, deemed to accompany the European construction. Wouldn’t this creation cut the last links between West and East and sign the death of the old universal ITU? On the other hand, wasn’t the ITU’s ability to survive to the Cold War a proof of its capacity to endure any initiative? The Eastern bloc versatile strategy (participation/obstruction) finally prevented Western European engineers to give support to political initiatives of the time aiming at deepening co-operation between national telecommunications operators. 

Materials from the French, British and ITU’s archives enable us to explore the impact of the Cold War on the day-to-day life of an international institution dealing with one of the hottest technology right after the Second World War. And from there on to shed a new light on the inability to build Europe on communications infrastructures.

Martin Dangerfield (2010). Alternative narratives of East-West trade and Soviet strategies for technology transfer, 1965-1985

This paper will examine Soviet policy and policy-making on technology imports from the developed capitalist countries between 1965 and 1985. After 1965, in the context of serious economic slowdown and the clear need for deep reform of the economic system or some alternative solution, the Soviet leadership opted for an import-led strategy based significant increases of the amount of machinery and equipment imports from OECD countries. This was not, however, justified by any admission that the system of state socialism based on central planning had any fundamental weaknesses; rather in the words of the Soviet ideologues of the time, it arose because of the need to participate in the global ‘scientific-technical revolution’ from which no country could afford to be excluded. During this period the Soviet specialist and popular press featured many articles stressing the benefits of imported Western technology and the logic of joining the international division of labour. During the second half of the 1970s, however, independence from, rather than interdependence with, the global economy was increasingly stressed in official Soviet rhetoric as the USSR reversed course and embarked on a strategy of retreat from the world economy. During these years favourable representations of western technology became harder to find, and articles stressing the disadvantages of imports from the West, the merits of domestic technology, and the dangers of too close economic contacts with unreliable trade partners became the dominant narrative. The main emphasis of the paper will be on the alternative narratives on the merits of Western technology imports that were observable in the Soviet specialist and popular press during these years and how they were used by the Soviet leadership to justify official

David Burigana and Mauro Elli (2010). Tensions and Cooperation in the Aviation Industry between East and West: the Anglo-Romanian Case, 1965-1981

Since mid 1960s the whole European aviation industry had begun looking at basically two solutions in order to survive the competition with the U.S.: European cooperation and exports to markets so far closed to the Americans. Against this background, Anglo-Romanian dealings in the aviation industry between the second half of the 1960s and the early 1980s are a case of converging politico-military interests with major interpretative potential for the History of East-West relations during the Cold War and for the European construction process. After the first contacts, at the end of the 1960s there was – on the British part – the aim of prodding the policy of independence of a Warsaw Pact country with respect to

Moscow and being the first Romania’s commercial partner in order to offer an outlet to the British aviation industry. Bucharest had an interest in asserting its relative independence through high-level political contacts with the West and pursued a strategy of modernisation that looked to the U.K. for the reconstruction of the aviation industry.


Throughout the 1970s a number of items were dealt with, both in the civil and military spheres: the BAC 111 airliner, the BN Islander and Mainlander models, the JUROM tactical attack aircraft, the Viper and Spey Rolls-Royce engines etc. In most cases they were not subject to turnkey contracts, rather single pieces of complex solutions where each aspect could become a bargaining counter to foster breakthroughs in the others. The basic Romanian aim was acquiring technical know-how and independence. This did entail a revision of the strategic concept governing the action of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Control. A certain passage of technology actually occurred through the licensing of production and assembly in

Romania, which apparently gave way to satisfactory results; this did not entail simply tools and practices, but also techniques such as certain type of casting and forging processes to be used in the engine production.


The extensive investigation of unpublished British archival sources in Kew Gardens and Romanian oral sources – as well as documents in other different archives

(British Aerospace, Boeing in Seattle, the European Commission and Council in

Brussels, Historical Archives of European Union in Florence, the French Foreign

Ministry and Civil Aviation Agency in Paris) – shows a picture of ferment and mobility beneath the Iron Curtain and confirms the value of ‘technical’ subjects for an in-depth understanding of détente in Europe. Furthermore it sheds light on technological competition both at intra-European and Atlantic level.


Indeed, on the one hand not only did the Romanians address Britain, but also France, the FRG and Italy in view of a possible cooperation in the aviation industry, which – besides the British – would involve the French and the Italians as subcontractors. The penetration in eastern markets free of U.S. competition was an enticing perspective and – after the Sino-Soviet split in 1959 and the first limited, informal contacts of commercial nature between the Europeans and China –

Romania could serve as gateway to China after the U.S. diplomatic recognition in the 1970s, as when Emil Bodnara. – a top brass in the Romania Communist Party and privy to Mao and Chou En-Lai – served as ‘middleman’ in the first contacts between Rolls-Royce and the Chinese authorities in 1972.


Anglo-Romanian cooperation in the wider purview of the relations with the USSR and China was in the end just a second-best option for the survival of the British aircraft industry compared with cooperation at European level. Airbus and EFA (European Fighter Aircraft) were intended as worldwide export products. Anyway the ‘eastern option’ was not without commercial value in face of a growing European cooperation and – with the new phase in the Cold War engendered by the first Reagan Administration – it could well have a residual political value, i.e. ascertaining the solidity of the Soviet Bloc. From this standpoint, Anglo-Romanian dealings are not just a self-contained research; they point to hypotheses and interpretations for this wider context.

Thomas Zeller (2010). Crossing Natural and Political Borders: Parkways in Germany and the United States, 1930-1970

This paper will address how parkways, a particular and peculiar version of limited access highways, have been used to both delineate and overcome national, social, and technological borders in 20th century Germany and the United States. The proposed talk stems from a larger book project examining the ideological, technological, and environmental preconditions, decisions, and consequences of the manufactured landscapes of parkways in Germany and the United States. In particular, I am studying the 750 kilometer-long Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and

North Carolina and its German counterpart, the Deutsche Alpenstrasse, the German

Alpine Road extending 450 kilometers on the northern mountain crest of the Alps.

Both roads were built as tourist parkways starting in the 1930s to stimulate traffic and open up neglected tourist regions in the proximity of major population centers; and both presented particular versions of nature.


It is my goal to bring together the study of consumption and the study of environmental and technological change by analyzing the sculpted landscapes of the

Blue Ridge Parkway and the Deutsche Alpenstrasse, and in the process shed light on a neglected aspect of the car tourism of the 20th century. These roads were created specifically for car drivers and passengers to enjoy scenic views from their cars without having to leave them. This scenery, however, was not a given, essentialist entity; it only became an experience through the selective efforts of civil engineers and landscape architects designing these roads. The paradoxical goal was to enable motorists to gain a new appreciation of nature, an escape from industrial society, while using cars, one of the main icons and means of consumerism in the 20th century. In other words, parkways were intended to overcome the boundary between nature and technology. At the same time, they were seen to be specifically “German” or “American” projects, thus reinforcing national boundaries. Thirdly, social barriers were treated as nonexistent— it was the unspoken assumption of many of the planners that either every German or U.S. citizen was a member of a car-owning household or would enter this privileged category.


Rather than treating these roads as a brief interlude in the history of tourism, I ask why the first major environmental transformation of the car culture focused on sculpting roads in order to create pleasant vistas. The comparative angle of the project should enable me to overcome notions of “national styles” and instead help to trace the parkway ideal of touristy nature as an international phenomenon indicative of larger changes in 20thcentury Western societies.

Patryk Wasiak (2010). Computing behind the Iron Curtain: Social Impact of Home Computers in the Polish People’s Republic

My aim is to present a few social phenomena linked with an introduction of home computers in the Polish People’s Republic during the 1980s. In the communist country under the embargo introduced by COCOM, the computerization was embedded in the discourse of leveling the rapidly growing technology gap and rescuing the collapsing Polish economy. The discourse of computerization was shaped by a group of computer science professionals that were able to gather wide support for their ideas among officials, teachers and journalists. They presented ideas of creating “national” computer industry (in fact this industry was based mostly on the Polish copies of “reverse-engineered” Western hardware) and introduction of computer science in educational programs. Successful fulfilling of their appeals should have led socialist Poland to “digital utopia”. However, such plans had little impact on Polish society. The real mass interest in home computers among Poles was caused by different factors. The rise of Polish home computer market wasn’t also the effect of activity of hardware and software Western companies (their branches were established mostly after 1989) but rather an effect of blossoming

Polish informal economy. Home computers were available on Polish black market since the early 1980s. These computers were brought (also smuggled) from the West Germany and the USA as high-tech Western gadgets. Along with hardware and pirate software brought from the West, social practices linked with the usage of home computers were brought as well. I put forward the thesis that it is possible to distinguish two methods of shaping new computer technologies in communist

Poland. This technology was shaped by “computer movement” (I am using this term according to Rob Kling) as a significant factor for the growth of Polish economy, but ordinary users shaped it rather as a platform for entertainment. In this article I examine the impact of institutions and social actors which were shaping these new technological artifacts present in communist Poland.

Ivaylo Hristov (2010). The Soviet Union influence for the establishment of Bulgarian nuclear power program. Bulgarian nuclear power station “Kozloduy” went critical.

This article explores the role of the USSR for establishing nuclear power program in Bulgaria in the period from mid 1950s until early 1970s. It describes the way Soviet Union, as political, technological and educational center, promoted atomic technology transfer for peaceful purposes to its satellites. The paper also pictures the involvement of the economy organization COMECON and the Standing commission founded in the frames of the organization, which was responsible for the cooperation in the field of power production. In that sense the paper describes how the socialist countries in Eastern Europe experienced and conducted processes of integration and fragmentation in the field of nuclear power production.


It also takes into consideration the role of the Iron Curtain in the relationships between Eastern and Western European countries and newly emerged transnational organizations. The main transnational organization International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) served as a scene for various tensions between the states involved. The socialist camp states conducted their specific policy for administrative positions in IAEA, aiming in that way to lead their own political line.


The example of Bulgarian nuclear power program, and more precisely the establishment of nuclear power plant in the country, serves as ground for revealing what kind of processes for circulation and appropriation of people, knowledge and artifacts were in the base of building nuclear program in specific political environment – socialist one. Moreover this example shows what kind of interactions existed between the Eastern European partners in the Soviet camp. It takes into consideration their material linkages, organizational successes and failures that show the political relations inside the bloc.

Ana Paula Silva (2010). A detour by Africa: mirroring factors in the construction of Europe during Cold War

This paper analyses a complex process of technical choices – the electrification of Portuguese African colonies – by focusing on representations of power and circulation of money between USA, Europe and Africa, in the period following WWII, unveiling discrete and unsuspected actors and their contribution to the construction of European Union through a detour by Africa.

Larissa Zakharova (2010). Competition or cooperation? Transfers of telephone and telegraph technologies from Europe to the USSR, 1918-1960s

This paper is aimed to explain the ways of the Soviet integration in the European technological developments in the field of telecommunications from 1918 to the 1960s.

Since the first years of the Soviet regime, the Bolsheviks’ desire of confidentiality and the necessity to govern a huge territory covering two continents, inherited from the Tsarist Empire, provoked transfers of the European telecommunication technologies to the USSR. The first automatic telephone station installed in Kremlin in 1922 was bought from Siemens. It was delivered without any documentation. Thus the Soviet leaders were obliged to invite foreign specialists. However, they decided to use Soviet technicians. Designed for functioning with three telephone wares, the station was managed to work with two wares – the only way possible in the Soviet conditions of the moment. It marked the beginning of the period of adjustment of the European technologies to the Soviet conditions of exploitation. As consequence ordinary telephone and telegraph employees and specialists in telecommunication developed inventiveness and ingenuity while « perfecting » the European technologies. Such a bricolage was also related to the beginning of the politics of Soviet economic independence.


Surprisingly, during the period of the new economic politics, when contacts with Europe became more brisk, the Soviet government ordered in 1923 to stop importing the electro-technical materials that could be produced at the Soviet factories. The competition with the capitalist countries accorded a priority to the national research and development. But since the 1930s, the extensive industrial system, centralized and planned, interfered with the development of national research and made indispensable transfers of the European communicational technologies to the USSR. However, as the Soviet rulers aspired for the economic independence from the West, they preferred the industrial espionage and the importations of « samples » with the aim to reproduce the European novelties at the Soviet factories. But the lack of know-how provoked missions of Soviet engineers to Europe and of European specialists to the USSR. So, the transfers through espionage were transformed or accompanied by the Soviet-European cooperation in the field of telecommunications. This trend was strengthened after the Stalin death in 1953, in the framework of peaceful coexistence that did not exclude the competition. The Soviet public discourse promoted the idea of the social utility of the technological progress. The imitations of European telecommunication technologies were seen as a mean to catch up and overtake the capitalist world.


Therefore, the attempts to achieve economic independence of the USSR in the Cold War climate paradoxically permitted to strengthen the ties between European and Soviet specialists, making holes in the Iron Curtain, while the technological change was the motor of the Soviet Union integration in globalisation process.

Pauli Heikkilä (2010). Failed proposal for Common (Agricultural) Policy. Estonian exiled politicians in the European Movement during the early Cold War


The Estonian National Council in Stockholm was the most prominent political center for exiled Estonians during the Cold War. Their foreign policy relied first heavily on European unification in general and particularly on the European Movement as the organization promoting it. The ENC did not consider the
national cause of restoring the independent nation-state and founding the supranational, European confederation as paradoxical tasks but complementary alternatives. The failing of independence had shown the illusion of isolated sovereignty and the subsequent European peace required certain limitations. The Central and East European Conference in London in January 1952 was the greatest event for common Europe for a long time. Shortly after this, the ENC felt rejected by the western Europe, which was introducing the Coal and Steel Community for new kind of international integration. The disappointed ENC started to look for new forums to inform the West about the harsh reality of their occupied homeland and thus create international pressure against the Soviet Union. By 1957 the ENC acknowledged the American Assembly of Captive European Nations as the most important organization in liberating the Eastern Europe.
The activities of the ENC in the European Movement reveal forgotten tensions in the history of European unification. Furthermore, my presentation deals with history of technology, since one of their primary aims was to continuation of the Marshall Aid after the liberation. For a great part, the aid would have meant renovation of Estonian agriculture. During the London conference, they provided extensive calculations of investments and tools needed for this and insisted other nationals to do the same: thus there would be a common Eastern European plan ready for installation when the time came. Although there were also domestic political reasons to emphasize the agriculture for the emigrant community, it was firstly based on existing economy – the heavy Soviet industrialization started only in the 1960s – and secondly on desire of
fostering the Western social life by canceling the Soviet collectivization: small estates were considered more effective not only economically but also mentally.


Stéphanie Le Gallic (2010). Claude General Neon Lights Ltd: an European company?

Between the two World Wars, luminous advertising expended in the heart of several big European cities. At the top of the buildings, on their balconies, electric lights announced the brand names of the most famous companies: Schweppes, Guiness, Eclipse, Mazda... These colours illuminated the nights. They brought enjoyment and were spectacular. But in the thirties, due to the economic slowdown, communication investments decreased and lead to the first crisis of the media. Customers were reluctant to invest in expenses that were not deemed by them as essential. Usually, in time of crisis, activities are generated locally. International exchanges do not disappear, but they slow down dramatically. However, the inception of Claude General Neon Light Ltd in 1930 in UK is an example of a company that thinks at the European level and tries to create a European identity.
This company designed, manufactured and maintained neon signs and luminous advertising. British, French and German nationals could be found among the administrators and shareholders : General Electric Company Ltd, the French chemist Georges Claude, Aktion Gesellschaft für Elektrizität Industrie. They pooled their expertise and industrial property rights to expand their activities. Employees were transferred from these companies to the new one. This multicultural cooperation created bunds allowing the company to
cover a broad territory extending from Europe to India. In this presentation, we are going to show how this company could work in spite of its non-conventional organization. How did it grow up and how could the synergies between the various European actors take place?
The study of the company's board of directors' minutes from 1930 to 1950's will give us some tools to answer these questions. This source that was never used before, as far as we know, will give us the opportunity to see from the inside how the Claude General Neon Light Ltd survived World War II despite its own board members were citizens of nations at war. In early 1940, the company could not afford having both German and French representatives amongst its decision makers. We can wonder what happened to the original project of a European company. Since it lost temporarily its European aspect, only the British part remained. In addition to these difficulties, the company faced supply and manpower shortages in a Europe
devastated by war. Even after peace was restored, difficulties remained important. Restrictions still existed. The British part of the company kept their ascendancy but contacts were resumed with a French advertising company in 1947.

Evgeny Vodichev (2010). Can Russian Mono-Company Science Cities Become Centers of Innovation Growth in Russian Transforming Economy? A Case of Akademgorodok

The key purpose of the paper is to formulate prospective vision of Akademgorodok as a centre of science and innovation superiority for transforming Russian economy.

The following tasks are supposed to be addressed in the paper:


  • highlighting in a comparative perspective against Soviet traditions and Western science a historical background of the Akademgorodok formation as a centre of S&T growth;
  • specifying Akademgorodok’s role in the academic enterprise of the USSR in the past and in Russia today;
  • identifying Akademgorodok’s peculiarities as a science town integrated into the structure of Novosibirsk megalopolis;
  • implementing SWOT-analysis of Akademgorodok as a core structure of the regional innovation cluster;
  • identifying the key factors and determinants impacting Akademgorodok’s future perspectives as an innovation centre.


In the middle of 1950s science policy in the USSR was revised and new research centers were set up, of which Novosibirsk Akademgorodok became the most prominent. The rate of its growth did not have precedents in history of science: by the end of 1960s Novosibirsk became the second biggest city in Russia after Moscow in terms of concentration of R&D. Novosibirsk Akademgorodok is often regarded as unique in Russia with regard to research facilities, engaged personnel, living conditions for scientists, specific ethos of scientific community, etc. However, the historical analysis indicates that the Akademgorodok concept inherited both tendencies of setting up polarized centres of S&T growth widespread in Western science after the end of the WW II, and Soviet approach of making “hidden secret towns” in the military sectors of science and technology. In other words, there were two “parents” of Akademgorodok – Western science and Soviet economic, political and cultural environment, – and they could hardly live peacefully together. As a result, the “baby’s” character was dubious and ambivalent.


Irrespective of that, Akademgorodok shortly became one of the “sacral symbols” of Soviet technocratism and was sometimes referred to by Western scholars as a “The New Atlantis”, and currently often attributed as “Silicon Taiga”. Both assumptions are a kind of exaggeration. While the term “The New Atlantis” has been applied to Akademgorodok with a good portion of irony, the most intriguing issue at the moment is a possibility of making it a real alternative to Silicon Valley, as it is seen as one of the key instruments for making technological breakthroughs in Russian transforming economy.


To investigate and evaluate feasibility of such perspectives, both comparative retrospective analysis, and SWOT analysis of current situation have been performed. They are supposed to be addressed in the paper and in the presentation to be delivered on the conference. Our findings show that the balance of strength and opportunities against threats and weaknesses make us remain on the positive side when considering future of Akademgorodok as a Centre of R&D and S&T Growth. However, its future as an Innovation Center is not pre-determined so far, and in a major extent depends on overall macroeconomic situation, economic strategy and political will for a change.

Pál Germuska (2010). East-East Military Technology Transfer: Soviet licence policy in the frames of the COMECON military industrial cooperation

The paper presents some new evidence that the Soviet Union passed on second-rate technology for the most part for the satellite countries in the early 1950s. The paper shows that in 1954-55 some changes can be seen: it emerged from an examination of the investments implemented to date in the war industries of the region that the developments realised had been of uneven standard, and superfluous concurrent capacities had been constructed. It became clear that as a result of the uncoordinated provision of licences, for the most part out of date armaments of mixed composition were being manufactured in the military industry plants of the satellite countries. This is why the division of labour, mutual cooperation and multilateral coordination was necessary, and the Military Industry Standing Committee of the CMEA was created to provide a framework for this in 1956. The Soviets may not have forbidden the launching of independent research and development projects in the 1950s and 60s, but at the Warsaw Pact alliance level very few non-Soviet developed products were allowed into the system. The paper analyses how the Soviets managed the licence-giving and adaptation in the 60s and 70s, and why they inaugurated the licence-fee
from 1973 in the field of military production.

Helena Durnova (2009). Computers as messengers of freedom in Soviet bloc countries


Although relatively independent development of computing technology in Czechoslovakia can be traced to the 1920s and 1930s, the field of digital computers only took off under the influence of Antonin Svoboda (1907]1980) in the late 1940s. As the lingua franca of computer designers, programmers, and computer scientists coincides with the language of the Soviet bloc's greatest enemy, the USA, it is not surprising that computers also implicitly carried with them the sense of freedom.
The freedom connected with computers is not associated just with the straightforward sense of escaping Czechoslovakia, although most employers from the Institute for Mathematical Machines followed Antonin Svoboda and emigrated to the "West", mostly the USA. Paradoxically, this formerly "bourgeois" discipline
was a refuge for the people who, not being of working]class descend, could not study the humanities under communist government.


Els de Vos (2009). The American Kitchen in Belgium? A Story of Countering, Reversing, Selective Appropriation and Sidelining.

At first glance, Belgian post-war housing did not differ that much from American housing. While in most other European countries social housing dominated the housing stock, private initiative dominated in Belgium. Social housing, and especially high-risebuilding, kept a low profile, while suburban single family houses determined the post-war landscape. The suburban model seemed to have come from across the Atlantic. At least, many turnkey houses that ‘populated’ the suburbs, found their origin in the US. Yet, not only the material culture, but also the accompanying model of home, family life, gender patterns and domesticity had a lot in common with those heralded in the Cold War climate.
However, how intensively did Americanization intrude into Belgians’ domestic life and into the material culture of the home? Was Victoria De Grazia right in stating that America’s Free Market Empire washed over Europe by propelling its consumer culture and practices into Europe? By means of a search for the American
kitchen in Belgium - the high degree of home ownership enabled most consumers to acquire a kitchen to their likings - this paper explores the limits of Americanization and emphasizes that there were alternatives which were hybrid forms of both European modernist and American mass models of consumption. The paper
shows how complex processes of mediation about kitchens arose among several actors: Socialist and Christian-Democratic women’s organizations, users but also experts such as architects and home
economists. It also explains why these processes took shape the way they did.
For the full-text of this working paper please contact the
author, Els de Vos, at 

Cornelis Disco and Eda Kranakis (2009). New Industrial Commons in Europe. Introduction.

The importance of commons in the “hidden integration of Europe” during the 19th and 20th centuries has been chronically understated to say the least. This version of the introduction to a book that seeks to redress this neglect emphasizes how efforts to manage and conserve different kinds of transnational “common pool resources” have played a key role in European integration. It also takes the first steps in considering how technology plays a role in creating and managing commons and how commons theory might contribute to history of technology. Finally the book’s chapters are summarily described under four section headings: spaces, flows, infrastructures, and information.

Jeffrey R. Yost (2009). Appropriation and (In)dependence: Examining the British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM), IBM, and Burroughs at the Advent of the Computer Industry


For roughly forty years the British Tabulating Machine (BTM) Company appropriated IBM’s tabulating machine technology—prior to IBM’s severing of the license agreement between the two firms in 1949. With this change, BTM was freed from the exorbitant licensing fees for IBM designs (25%), but found itself with weak research and development capabilities. This occurred at the critical moment when pre-computer tabulation devices began (slowly at first) to give way to digital computers. The study attacks the notion that poor management and government policy were fundamentally responsible for the inability of British computing firms (BTM and firms it would later merge with to form national champion ICL) to follow
through on their nation’s strong academic computing research and compete effectively with IBM—thus challenging the “declinist” literature on British industry. Drawing on archival materials at the Charles Babbage Institute, the paper demonstrates the many similarities of R&D management practices and acquisition
strategies at BTM, and the American firm, Burroughs Corporation, including their attempted joint venture (HOBO). It contrasts these factors and circumstances with the many internally built organizational capabilities and resources at IBM. The study also identifies a potential overemphasis on the importance of government/defense expenditures in the field, indicating that this was, at best, a necessary but not  sufficient factor for the disparity in success between IBM and BTM. To the limited extent there may have been missed opportunities on the part of BTM, these concerned its lack of investment in electronics in the 1940s and its inability to foresee the computer in new ways and for new customers—as startup Digital Equipment Corporation did in launching minicomputing—in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In this, BTM was typical of IBM’s competitors in the U.S. trade (the “seven dwarfs”)— firms that generally understood the industry within the IBM paradigm. BTM’s relationship with IBM, which was purely as a follower in the pre-computing days, took a different path (mergers and acquisitions) in the computer era. Nevertheless, Americanization was still at play in subtle and complex ways as BTM was still seeking to grow big fast and essentially mimic IBM, rather than innovate a new course.


Erik van der Vleuten and Vincent Lagendijk (2009). Europe’s Electrical Vulnerability Geography: Historical Interpretations of the 2006 ‘European Blackout’

The so-called "European Blackout" of 4 November 2006 counts as a key example of present day transnational infrastructure vulnerability and an important reference in current debates on transnational electricity infrastructure governance. This is best exemplified by the debate itself, where proponents of more European Union (EU) influence spoke of a “blackout”, and most transmission network operators interpreted the same event as a “disturbance”.

Several commentators from both sides argued that to understand what happened, one must look at history. Yet almost none of the official policy responses goes more than a decade deep. As an answer and supplement to that, this paper uses novel historical research to make visible how historical choices, path dependencies, and ways of dealing with these later, shaped Europe's electric vulnerability geography.

We show that the decentralized organization of transnational electricity infrastructure, often associated with power grid fragility today, was a deliberate historical choice for economic as well as reliability reasons. We also address the (meso)regional logic of the failure, foregrounding how stakeholders from different parts of Europe historically chose to collaborate in different ways with due consequences for their involvement in, or exclusion from, the 2006 disturbance. Finally the paper concludes that today's notion of electricity infrastructure “vulnerability” is contested as many stakeholders still find the system extremely reliable, and that this contestation is tied into ongoing struggles over transnational electricity infrastructure governance.

Ivaylo Hristov (2009). Nuclear electricity networks in Eastern Europe: Political, social, and technological development. The case of Bulgarian nuclear program (1947-1989)

This article presents a project for dissertation, revealing East European nuclear power field in its technological and network establishment specifics. The author presents European integration in the Cold War time by
investigating various types of links between the different transnational actors. The involvement, on one hand, of the USSR in its satellites’ development is one perspective of what European integration in nuclear power field was. On the other hand organizations like IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) served as catalysers for linking different partners. Bulgaria as a part of the Soviet bloc and a nuclear power producer serves as a good example for revealing what kind of nuclear technology network existed in Europe. The state was very closely connected to the USSR, but it became more emancipated recently by including different partners for its nuclear development.

Adri A. Albert de la Bruhčze (2009). The Strategic Making and Use of America Images. The Contested Design of Modern Tourist Accommodation in The Netherlands, 1945-1955.

During the post-war period the US started playing a direct role in the integration of Europe. Within the context of the post-war Marshall Plan, the US government dedicated itself overtly to the promotion of overseas tourism and leisure. In this endeavour the US propagated the ‘US way of leisure’, i.e. individual freedom, open road vacations, and leisure outings by means of building national and transnational highways, road side hotels, motels, and restaurants.

In Europe however, specific modes and styles of tourism and leisure had developed in the nineteenth and twentieth century. National tourist organizations had been the driving forces of this development. These civil society actors created transnational institutions to facilitate material and cultural cross-border European interactions. After the Second World War this role was taken over by the national state. Within national contexts of post-war reconstruction, and the building of a welfare state, and within the new international bi-polar world of the

Cold War, the management, the organization, and the materialization of ‘modern’ (mass) tourism and leisure was found in state guidance. However, pre-war actors, developments, traditions, characteristics, and styles integrated and clashed with post-war actors, definitions, ambitions, ‘Atlantic relations’, and European definitions of the ‘American way of leisure’ into a new European socio-technical leisure regime.


In this paper the building of a new European post-war leisure regime will be illustrated by focusing on the design of tourist accommodation in the Netherlands. In this case three ‘issues’ became linked, State guided national reconstruction and modernization, the Marshall Aid providing means to build new tourist accommodation, and bottum-up initiatives of civil society actors to build and operate tourist accommodation. The linkage of these three issues caused many tensions and controversies. The definition of modern ways of leisure, of ‘Dutchness’, what appropriate tourism and appropriate tourist accommodation was, and, last but not least, who the tourist and his desires were, dominated the agenda of Dutch tourist accommodation design till the 1970’s. In dealing with these matters the involved actors, both state (departments) and non-state (tourist organizations), heavily relied on ‘America’. As spokespersons of ‘the Dutch’ these mediating actors defined, rejected, and translated ‘American ways of leisure’ into new ‘Dutch’ and ‘European’ accommodation designs that would fit both established traditions and future developments. In doing so, these actors also negotiated the use, the (European) user context, and the user of these tourist accommodations.

Frank Schipper (2009). Marshall and Mobility

This paper discusses mobility aspects of the Marshall Plan. It identifies the context of the Marshall Plan as an excellent opportunity to move ideas on mobility across the Atlantic. The question is to what extent this happened and how. The paper mainly focuses on two aspects of what resembling the United States would entail in the transport sector. First, in terms of the modal split it implied a significantly more important role for road transport. The paper explores how this larger role materialized in tourism, road transport policy, and road engineering knowledge and construction.

Second, in institutional terms it implied a scale-up, requiring a continental organization to steer transport matters accordingly. The paper explores in particular an OEEC technical assistance mission to study the organization of transport at the federal level in the United States and the role of the Interstate Commerce Commission therein. The paper ends with a call for a further academic cross-fertilization of mobility history and the history of European integration.

Thomas Kaiserfeld (2009). From sightseeing to sunbathing: blurring German and American traditions in Swedish package tours during the 1950s and 60s

No abstract available.

Nina Wormbs (2009). Technology-dependent commons: The example of frequency spectrum for broadcasting in Europe in the 1920s

This paper argues that the frequency spectrum is essentially a commons and that the use and regulation of it is of interest for our understanding of how commons can be governed. More specifically, the paper argues that the institutions governing the medium-wave band of 200-600 meters, used for broadcasting in Europe in the 1920s, show at least the same design principles as the ones traditionally considered in the research done by Elinor Ostrom.

The paper investigates and analyses how institutions and procedures were put into place in the mid 1920s and how the use of frequencies were monitored and evaluated. The need to agree on the use and regulation of the spectrum was realised early on and widely. In 1925 the International Broadcasting Union was formed and played a crucial role for the development of broadcasting in Europe. One of the first tasks were to find a solution to the “chaos in the ether”. A result was a frequency plan that divided the resource in terms of transmitting frequencies and other technical regulations for the use. The following procedures put into place and the subsequent plans replacing the first one are analysed from a commons governing perspective


For the full-text of this working paper please contact the author:

Martin Kohlrausch, Katrin Steffen, Stefan Wiederkehr (2009). International community of experts. Exploratory workshop report, Warsaw, September 11-13

The article reports on a workshop held at the German Historical Institute, Warsaw, in September 2008. The workshop’s aim was to integrate the previously rather neglected eastern part of Europe into a comprehensive European history and to analyze the phenomenon of the transfer of knowledge and technological expertise in Europe after World War I. In accordance with this focus, the workshop explored the following topics: experts and the media of knowledge communication, the role of the state, and, finally, the relationship between expertise and power.

Pierre-E. Mounier-Kuhn (2009). The UNESCO International Computing Center in Rome

In 1946-1952, a series of meetings at UNESCO led to creating an International Computing Center (ICC), installed in Rome. It was based on the assumption that electronic computers would be large scientific equipments, which should be shared at international level. By the time the center was established, computers had become commercial commodities, and it had to change focus. It provided, indeed, ancillary services to the international computing science community. Yet, in the 1960s, internal bureaucratic struggles and mismanagement nearly led to its termination. Instead, it changed focus again as it became an Intergovernmental Bureau for Informatics (IBI), serving Unesco’s educational policy toward developing countries. It was finally shut in 1988.

Marija Dremaite (2009). Soviet Industrialization of Housing Technologies in the Context of the International Modernism

In recent years it has become popular to compare post-war housing of the East to that of the West and to present the strikingly similar result. More and more authors come to the conclusion that socialist town planning was not so ideologically unique, but rather an integral part of the modernist process of urbanization. The paper
discusses social, political, and technological aspects of the post-war industrialization of housing in the East and in the West, focusing on the modernistic rhetoric and technological exchange. The text is based on the story of mass housing modernization and its implementation in the Soviet Baltic Republics in the 1960s.

Jíra Janác (2008). Europe through waterways: The European Coasts of Bohemia


This article presents a dissertation project, which investigates historical relationship between infrastructural development and the emergence of contemporary Europe. The proposed "Europe seen through a single waterway" approach allows the author to employ the case study of the Danube-Oder-Elbe canal project as a mirror reflecting the negotiations of "meanings" of the infrastructural link between transnational, national, and regional actors, competing modes of transport and various sectoral interests in different periods. The whole twentieth century was marked by initiatives attempting to interconnect the Danube basin and the Black Sea ports to both the Baltic and the North See markets by the construction of an artificial canal. Furthermore, such a connection has been seen as a vital constituent of emerging European waterway network designed under different political regimes. Projected in times of Austrian-Hungarian Empire, independent Czechoslovakia, Nazi Germany, Socialist Czechoslovakia and finally Czech Republic, the Danube-Oder-Elbe canal (D-O-E) was planned in order to serve different requirements and different ideas and perceptions of Europe.


Particpants of Sigtuna conference (2008). Papers Sigtuna Conference (Eurocrit)

Abstracts and papers mentioned in Arne Kaijser and Per Högselius (2008). Scientific report of the workshop: Transnational Infrastructures: Coping with Scarcity and Vulnerability, Stockholm and Sigtuna, May 21-24, 2008

Arne Kaijser and Per Högselius (2008). Scientific report of the workshop: Transnational Infrastructures: Coping with Scarcity and Vulnerability, Stockholm and Sigtuna, May 21-24, 2008

This is a report on the second major Eurocrit workshop. Its theme was the increasing risks of scarcity and vunerability as a consequence of the increasing integration of infrastructures among European nations. An organizing concept was the idea of “critical event,” i.e. mishaps or functional interruptions that may reveal the structural faults in transnational infrastructures. These critical events were studied from a number of perspectives and for different infrastructures and regions in Europe. Most of the conference was devoted to commentary and lively debate on pre-circulated papers. The conference was divided into three thematic parts:
(1) Critical events in transnational infrastructures – and the responses
(2) Perceptions of scarcity and vulnerability
(3) The emergence of critical infrastructures in Europe
There are two appendices. The first is the workshop program. The second is a list of participants. Abstracts and texts of the papers are available as Working Paper 2008-7a.

Cornelis Disco et al. (2008). The Hidden Integration of Europe: Technologies and Transnational Commons

This is an abridged version of a Eurocores proposal submitted to the Inventing Europe program in Sept. 2006. Though the proposal did not get funded, participants decided to utilize their collective momentum to produce an edited volume. Editors are Cornelis Disco and Eda Kranakis. The present text is the take off point for this project. The basic idea is that in the politically small-scale European context both large natural features as well as transnational infrastructures can assume dynamics of transnational commons. The emphasis in the project is to ascertain the role of technologies in constituting and governing such transnational common property regimes and so contributing to the hidden integration of Europe.

Andreas Fickers et al. (2008). Transmitting and Receiving Europe

The invention of broadcasting and the idea of inventing Europe as the “United Nations of Europe” date more or less from the same time. Despite the very nature of radio waves – that is, not to be affected by any political or national boundaries – the concept of broadcasting was the result of a concerted effort on the part of big business and government to create a highly centralized, one-way, restricted-access system that is broadcasting. From a transnational historical perspective, the process of institutionalization of public service radio broadcasting in Europe after the First World War must be interpreted as a process of national appropriation and social shaping of radio as a broadcast medium. Just as radio had done after the Great War, television played a central role in the process of moral recovery in the post- WW2 crisis of national identity of many countries. The historiography of broadcasting has been a favourite object of national historical narratives, emphasising the crucial role of broadcasting in the construction or stabilisation of the nation as an imagined community. On the other hand, the transnational character of radio waves made them an issue of crossborder negotiation and legislation from the very beginning. The transnational character of broadcasting therefore calls for a historical contextualisation, reflecting the dynamics of a
communication tool that reshaped time and space.

Jordi Martí-Henneberg (2008). The Development of European Waterways, Road and Rail Infrastructures: A Geographical Information System for the History of European Integration (1825-2005)

This project documents and assesses the contribution of new transport technologies and infrastructures to the process of European integration from 1825 to 2005. The results of the CRP will provide an empirical basis for multidisciplinary studies on the relationship between terrestrial infrastructures and the European integration.
We develop a comprehensive historical pan-European digital geographical information system (GIS) comprising the inland waterways, road and rail networks of Europe. The area covered by the project is all of Europe except the former USSR plus the Baltic states and former Yugoslavia. This coverage is dictated by limitations in data availability.

Gerard Alberts et al. (2008). Software for Europe: Constructing Europe through Software

Software — the instructions allowing computers to be used — has played a significant and underexplored
role in the shaping of postwar Europe. We address this role through examining the tensions between two contrasting modes of computer technology appropriation: the direct importation of applications software, as promoted by the practices of corporations such as IBM; and the development of software through university-industry co-entrepreneurship, demonstrated in the case of the programming language ALGOL.
Writing a contextual history of software allows us to address historical themes concerning Europe and
Europeanness in the second half of the twentieth century. In the initial era of postwar reconstruction, with
declinist rhetoric setting in across much of Europe, building a computing machine could be seen as a source of specifically national pride; a decade later, the shift from hardware to software initiatives appeared to present a very different, universalist and internationalist character. What informed this change? Underlying software standards, meanwhile, promoted a largely hidden mode of integration: what was its role in the move towards European unification and the Cold War?
As a collaborative research project, building on growing cooperation in European history of computing,
Software for Europe aims to answer these questions.

Arne Kaijser et al. (2008). Europe goes Critical: The Emergence and Governance of Critical Transnational European Infrastructures

This text is an abridged and updated version of the EUROCRIT proposal as submitted in Sept. 2006 to the ESF Eurocores “Inventing Europe” program. The EUROCRIT collaboration is investigating the historical construction and societal consequences of the increasing intertwinement of critical infrastructures across and through national borders in Europe. A major issue is whether the additional layers of complexity necessary to
ensure transnational coordination of infrastructures and their services have not also introduced new vulnerabilities and catastrophic potentials. The project focuses on electrical power, natural gas, emergency
services, air traffic control, telecommunications and nuclear energy.

Ruth Oldenziel et al. (2008). European 'Ways of Life' in the American Century: Mediating Consumption and Technology in the Twentieth Century (EUWOL)

This text is a revised version of the original Eurocores proposal of Sept. 2006 submitted under the title "European Ways of Life in the 'Amercian Century'" (EUWOL). The EUWOL collaboration is a multinational investigation of European patterns of consumption in the 20th century. The underlying thesis is that although American patterns of consumption were eagerly adopted by Europeans, they did so on their own terms and in specifically “European ways." The program has three pillars: food, housing, and recreation. The methodology
implies a critique of the “consumption junction” and relies heavily on the idea of “mediation,” i.e. on the shaping of consumer preferences by actors and organizations that act as “intermediaries” between producers and consumers.