Armed groups, organized violence and the Euro-Mediterranean spaces (1870-1914)

Event Details

  • Event date: 23/01/2019
  • Venue: École française de Rome. 67, place Farnèse I - 00 186 Rome
  • CFP Deadline: 10/09/2018

Within the framework of the European Research Council (ERC) project “The Dark Side of the Belle Époque. Political Violence and Armed Associations in Europe before the First World War” (, PI prof. Matteo Millan), the Università degli Studi di Padova – Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World – and the École Française de Rome (EFR) will be holding an international workshop in Rome (EFR) on 23 January 2019. This scientific event aims to create an original dialogue, both comparative and transnational, around a topic that is relatively new for the period 1870-1914, namely armed groups. This subject will be considered in relation to political violence and with a relatively flexible geography: Euro-Mediterranean spaces, understood in a broad sense. By focusing on armed groups and their forms of legitimization, action and organization, the study of political violence can empirically deepen our knowledge of the so-called “State monopoly of legitimate violence”. Armed groups and their forms of legitimacy were not unrelated to the power of the State, even though these groups were not integrated into national armies (at least, not directly). The main question to be addressed is the relationship between armed groups and the legitimate use of violence, by analyzing similarities, differences, transfers and their influences on the social world at large (associations, coteries, clans, the nation, etc.), throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region between 1870 and 1914.


The key topics to be analysed and discussed will be the relationship between public and private dimensions, the legal framework (gun licenses, self-defence, etc.) and political violence. Forms of militarization and para-militarism will be also examined, as will forms of mobilization and association. Furthermore, attention will be paid to the fears and emotions related to the dominant conceptions of social order, to the emergence of forms of organized violence and to the metamorphosis of the uses of the monopoly of legal violence. When examined in relation to armed groups, the Euro-Mediterranean spaces will allow us to better understand how the legal approach laid at the heart of imperial dynamics interacting with various forms of nationalism in arms. These questions can be addressed through an analysis of specific case studies corresponding to particular armed groups, but also through studies based on related topics. For example, thematic analyses might concern the arms trade in the EuroMediterranean region. The list is open, the key point being to explain how the proposed papers can shed light on the political violence perpetrated by armed groups, on their actors and practices, forms of sociability and rituals, symbols and languages, which will help us to better understand the complexity of the phenomenon.


Applications (an abstract of 500 words indicating the research question, case-study and/or topic, sources and methodology, plus 200 words introducing the author) must be submitted by 10 September 2018 to the following address: . At the beginning of October 2018, the organizers will inform the applicants of their choice. Toward the end of 2018, papers of around 8,000 characters (including spaces) will be circulated among the participants. English, French and Italian will be the languages used. Accommodation for the participants on the nights before and after the workshop (22-23 and 23-24 January 2019) will be provided by the organizers, along with a contribution to cover travel expenses.