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FAMOSO - Fabricating Modern Societies: Industries of Reform as Educational Responses to Societal Challenges (ca. 1880-1930)

FAMOSO highlights the historical importance of industrial entrepreneurship for formal and non-formal education in industrialized societies. Its primary research objective is to analyze a variety of reforms pursued by captains of industry, which have been termed 'progressive' and are assumed to have had an educational quality and purpose. The project also wishes to investigate the kinds of interests, societal challenges and risks they aimed to meet, while focusing on working- and lower-middle class adults, children and youth. In particular, it will methodically study these reforms as interconnected, key contributions of the industry and associated intellectual networks.

A primary focus will be on reform initiatives originated from the Luxembourgian (steel) industry and related intellectual networks, of which it will develop a critical, comprehensive understanding on the basis of a wide array of sources, not least (audio-) visual ones. On a secondary level, the project will include a comparative dimension, to discern eventual national idiosyncrasies and transnational commonalities. Luxembourg and its industrial-intellectual sphere will thereby be looked at as points of circulation and transformation, as crossroads of ideas on social-educational reforms at the heart of Western Europe.

Concretely, FAMOSO

(1) will comprehensively and critically study the following domains of reform:

  • health care, including Red Cross activities, institutions like dispensaries, sanatoria and 'preventoriums', anti-tuberculosis and anti-alcoholism campaigns, etc.;
  • professional education and orientation: mining schools and technical-vocational schools and professional orientation centers;

(2) will further focus on intellectual circles, including networks treating such diverse issues as political, religious, economic, social, cultural, international cooperation and feminist concerns, interrelating them and connecting them to educational projects.

A central hypothesis of FAMOSO is that inherent to the reform projects mentioned were various forms of formal and informal education, including the acquisition of cultural norms, life styles, professional skills, etc., which aimed at supporting the integration of new social groups of (mainly immigrant) workers into rapidly changing societies.

By assuming a deep interrelationship and interconnection of intellectual, artistic, economic and entrepreneurial conceptions and their materialization in terms of formal and non-formal education, FAMOSO will adopt new perspectives and tread new paths in educational research.

For further information or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Karin Priem


Photos: Centre National de l'Audiovisuel (HISACS: Collection Institut Emile Metz)