Title
Working class voices from late nineteenth century: 'propaganda pence' in a socialist paper in Ghent Working class voices from late nineteenth century: 'propaganda pence' in a socialist paper in Ghent
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Arts. History
Publication type
article
Publication
Oxford ,
Subject
History
Source (journal)
History workshop journal. - Oxford
Volume/pages
69(2010) :1 , p. 133-145
ISSN
1363-3554
ISI
000277562900007
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
This contribution focuses on the propaganda pence (denier de la propagande), a subscription list published regularly by the socialist paper Vooruit in Ghent (Belgium) at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Belgian Workers' Party (Parti ouvrier belge) used the propaganda pence to collect money from its members. To interest donors in giving they were invited to formulate a short statement which would be published in a special section of the party papers. As a working class form of communication on the verge between spoken and written language, the propaganda pence statements offer a unique access to the everyday life of socialist workers. This paper analyses them through the prism of James C. Scott's concepts of public and hidden transcripts and Alf Lüdtke's Eigen-Sinn. The anonymity provided created a sequestered site where those who wrote in could voice their own concerns fairly openly. As a hidden transcript the propaganda pence had at least three functions: socializing and disciplining the in-group, clearly defining boundaries with the out-group and inverting the prevailing social relations. The latter is an illustration of what Alf Lüdtke calls Eigen-Sinn.
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