Appel à contribution: The Transformation of the World Steel Industry from the Twentieth Century to the Present

The Transformation of the World Steel Industry from the Twentieth Century to the Present

Call for papers

Changes in the world steel industry have been faster in the late twentieth century than in all previous periods. The conference The Transformation of the World Steel Industry from the Twentieth Century to the Present aims to scientifically describe and study the transformations which occurred in all areas of that industry. Its positioning in the contemporary period will allow a multidisciplinary and comparative reflection about the origins and forms of those changes.

This comparative approach is essentially historical, but it is also open to other disciplines such as geography, economics, business administration, sociology, engineering and so forth.

Supported by the Association Internationale d’Histoire Contemporaine de l’Europe (AIHCE), the conference is divided into two parts differing in terms of orientation, dates and location. They will be presented in French or English, without translation, according to the speakers’ choice.

The first part of the symposium, which will take place on May 24 and 25, 2012 in Le Creusot (France), deals with global questions, whereas the second part, taking place on September 20 and 21, 2012 in Luxembourg (Grand-duché de Luxembourg), will be focused more specifically on the European dimension. The results of both sessions will be published in the conference proceedings.

Proposals for papers, either in French or in English , should not exceed the maximum of 2,000 to 2,500 characters. Proposals can be made specifically to one of the two sessions, or left to the judgement of the Scientific Committee. An electronic copy and a CV must be sent to the following three addresses before September 1st, 2011 at the latest:

  • Barthel Charles : Charles [point] Barthel [at] cere [point] etat [point] lu
  • Kharaba Ivan : kharaba [point] afb [at] wanadoo [point] fr
  • Mioche Philippe: philippe [point] mioche [at] univ-provence [point] fr

The organizers also intend to devote half a day of the Luxembourg session to a workshop for young researchers (doctoral or postdoctoral students). Their complete communication proposals (maximum 25,000 to 30,000 characters) in French or in English, accompanied by a CV, should be submitted to the above mentioned addresses before December 31, 2011

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The two parts of the conference programme comprise the following themes:

Changes and Globalization in the Steel Industry

Le Creusot

24 and 25 May 2012

The part of the symposium organized in Le Creusot, entitled Changes and Globalization in the Steel Industry, will focus on the following topics: Work organization and social relations; Innovation and technology; Changes in territories and environment; Raw materials and supplies; Heritage and representations. For each of these themes, the presentations may include case studies and/or comparative works over time or space, from the past to the present, here and elsewhere.

The sub-themes presented below are not exhaustive, all proposals on the general themes of the symposium are welcome.

  • Organization of labour and social relations studies the evolution of work organization and social relations. What social policies are implemented in the steel industry? Can we compare the social data, such as training, salaries, …? What are the social relations between employers and workers in the steel industry? Etc.
  • Innovation and technology examines the research and innovation policies and the evolution of technologies in the steel industry. Which policies for  research and innovation are applied in the steel industry? What are the new frontiers for innovation? What are the developments in productivity? Which future developments will the world steel industry take? What about research for new steels? Etc.
  • Changes in territories and environment: The objective of this part is to study the evolution of the territories occupied by the steel industry from the past to the present, and its changes through social and environmental evolution. What are the changes in the steel territories ? Can we speak of a decline in U.S. and European steel industries to the benefit of new countries? What forms does the emergence of the steel industry take? What are the environmental policies in the steel industry; where do the differences between countries lie? Etc.
  • Raw materials and supplies: This part will examine the strategies and policies for raw materials supply, and their evolution. What are the flows of raw materials and supplies? How did they change? What are the transport arrangements and their impact on markets and locations? What are the relative positions of strength of the steel companies and the mining companies? Etc.
  • Heritage and performance: A special place will be devoted to the preservation of the heritage of the steel industry and its representations. What is the legacy of the steel industry? How is it preserved and valued here and elsewhere? In which ways are the steel industry and its workers represented ? Etc.

A roundtable will deal with «The Transformation of the Steel Industry and the Social Question».

The future of the European steel industry


20 and 21 September 2012

Central themes addressed in Luxembourg will be the European steel companies and the various types of local, national and international structures within which production takes place. As these are constantly changing under the effect of reorganizations conditioned sometimes by endogenous factors and sometimes by outside influences or interventions from beyond the sector, our purpose will be to analyze over a period stretching from the beginning of the 20th century to the dawn of the 21st century, the integration process, the composition of capital, the employers’ networks, etc., with the aim of identifying possible constant features, changes in company policy or a return to the roots following the example of the recent re-emergence of family capitalism. Consequently, another point at issue will be that of corporate culture, in the present case at the level of management in mills having been integrated into large often transnational groups, where new causes for concern in particular of a financial and commercial nature outweigh the management policy of the traditional ironmasters. A better knowledge of the entrepreneurs’ profile will undoubtedly allow a better analysis of their strategic choices and thus help explain the success of the one and the setbacks of another metallurgical society.

The constant reorientations imposed on the sector have of course also had an impact on the fiscal, environmental or social standards of production. Control, first of minor significance during the pioneer era of the modern steel industry,  rapidly grows in importance. What are the forms of dialogue between the private sector and public institutions? The governments’ and/or companies’ hesitations have given rise to much confusion and controversy in the field of agreements and cartels. Could these particular forms of market organization, which have often been condemned as violations of the basic rules of fair competition, become superfluous nowadays? Besides the development of the markets, we will finally also have to examine the products which have considerably developed since the beginning of the 20th century, not only in quantity, but also and above all in quality. We also intend to assess the future prospects of a category of production that has largely contributed to Europe’s wealth. This last topic will as a matter of fact be examined in more detail during a roundtable debate with insiders. The debate will focus on “The Position of the European Iron and Steel Industry in the World of Tomorrow”.

The meeting organized in Luxembourg includes a half-day’s workshop where selected young doctoral or postdoctoral students will be given the opportunity to present their research work and to discuss it in common. These papers, besides the topics specific to the Luxembourg part of the symposium, may also deal with the whole of the topics covered during the session to be held in Le Creusot (see above).

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Publication of the conference papers:

The final deadline for delivery of the final drafts of manuscripts is

November 2012

For further information, please contact the scientific secretary of the conference: kharaba [point] afb [at] wanadoo [point] fr  or  charles [point] barthel [at] cere [point] etat [point] lu

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