Research is at the start a core activity been Amsab Institute of Social History. As a cultural heritage institution we conduct this research in synergy our collection management and our public services. Scientific research supports and gives some direction to the acquisition and collection accessibility, and it helps to inspire and activities in the field of public history, popularisation of research and community service. This provides a clear added value for the global profile of the institute and let Amsab-ISH allow to distinguish themselves positively from purely academic research entities.
As Institute of Social History is our approach in the first place historical, Though we welcome every opportunity interdisciplinary collaborate with researchers from other disciplines such as sociology, political science, communication science and so on.
- A social history approach means that we assume that everything is in society and should be studied from a broad context. Macro Perspective and longue durée are equally relevant as acceleration phases and action moments.
- from a conflict perspective We believe that not everyone has equal opportunities in society that there are groups and individuals who defend their interests against other groups and individuals, and that conflict and consensus analysis should be an integral part of our research. We pay special attention to issues such as protest, social struggle, social conflicts, counterculture and other forms of contentious politics.
- From a perspective of daily history we believe that no matter how important structures and organizations may also be have finally surfaced the human aspect: social history is about people, not concepts or things. That's why we pay attention to history from below, people's history, Alltagsgeschichte, histoire des mentalités, and new social history.
- Within the context of social history, we have a long and fruitful tradition of research into labor historyThe history of the labor movement. We will continue to give special attention to this theme. We have thereby not only an eye for union leaders and workers' parties, but also for the broader cultural and economic context of labor and how people in here trying to create incomes, and innovative international approaches in this area as global labor history.
About our added value to Realise as a heritage institution We have a preference for research topics that fit the thematic pillars underpinning our collection policy, in particular:
- labor movement
- new social movements
- ecological movements
- migration history
We did and do research, for example the role of international trade unions and foreign policy of national unions; the daily life of workers in the transport on and off the job (work); the history of Amnesty International Belgium; the anti-globalist movement at the international level (new social movements); the histories of Agalev, the Association for a Better Environment, VELT and several pioneers of the early environmental movement (ecology); border commuting between Belgium and Northern France; generations of Turkish families in Ghent since the early 1970 (migration); and so on.
That however does not mean that scientific research of the institute necessarily have to be linked to the collection. a thematic link with the field of Amsab-ISG appears to be a more dynamic and flexible approach: even as a research topic is not material in the collection, the research may be relevant and, at best, even correct gaps in the collection. For example, the institute traditionally strong eye for cultural themes, as well as the connection with the collection is rather indirect.
In addition, we are strongly committed to the long tradition of the institute public relations and public history. The institute has its own magazine, Bread & Roses, a bridge trying to strike between scientific research and public history, and explicitly open to innovative themes and visions. Researchers are encouraged not only in scientific journals, but also to be published in Bread & Roses, and to disseminate research results through virtual channels and social media. Researchers are also invited to participate in activities such as militant training, public lectures, adult education, management training and professional training.
Strategic supports our research policy in two complementary businesses:
(A) Where the above perspectives and themes already explored, we are looking for joining existing research in the form of cooperation with universities and participation in projects.
- De structural collaboration with the University of Ghent is a key element in this strategy, and this way also with the university through collaboration between the Ghent and Brussels historical research. Amsab-ISH has to play an important role in suggesting research topics to students and supervisors and to participate in the activities of the research groups. Conversely, academic researchers are invited to participate in research activities of the Institute, for example, by being part of a project advisory committee.
- This cooperation is expressed further include (but not exclusively) in the participation of Amsab researchers to university research, in giving guest lectures and supervising students in the communication of scientific publications, and in facilitating and guiding students exercises. We also investigate whether we can fund a scholarship or promising students to help them on their way to do an FWO application.
- We also have good contacts with researchers from other institutionsAs KU Leuven, UA, CEGESOMA, Mundaneum and internationally include the International Institute of Social History (IISH). We like to work together with the other national archives, the National Archives, and local heritage institutions Ghent (Cageweb, Gents Archives Concert, STAM, MIAT, St. Peter's ...).
(B) Where do we find that research areas close to our heart are insufficiently addressed or whether there are gaps in the existing research, we ourselves try to agenda setting to do.
- This can be done by its own events organize, by encouraging students to innovative thesis topics record, by asking for projects and funding for funds as FWO, Hercules, BOF or European funds as Horizon2020 or COST. Calls for proposals which strong emphasis on the aspect of scientific communication, such as Marie Curie, HERA or FWO, receive special attention since the institute strongly here by its very nature is.
- It may further also through active participation in international networks such as the International Association of Labour History Associations (IALHI), the European Labour History Network (ELHN), the International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH) and other research networks.
- Our identity as independent non-academic institution thereby giving us the freedom to explore new avenues and test, and to more innovative research, both thematic and methodological level, actively promoting. After all, if non-academic institution, we are not tied to requirements in terms of academic output. We are also as collection setting close to the sources, and we can support innovative research with extensive expertise. For example, we can, in collaboration with university research, oral history projects that support through interviews of groups who are less discussed in the sources (eg prostitutes, beggars, thieves ....) To develop a research-driven collection from generating activity; we can offer as a heritage institution infrastructure such projects (offices, recording equipment, long-term preservation of research materials in a digital repository, a Virtual Research Infrastructure ...); we can apply innovative approaches to data analysis by working interdisciplinary with eg. sociologists and by using our ICT infrastructure for new forms of data mining, not only text mining on OCR layers, but also image mining (facial recognition) mining and audio (speech recognition). In such ways, we try to contribute to genuinely innovative forms of labor and social history.
- Responding to celebrations and events or performing paid survey commissioned by third parties we can not refuse, but we see it as an opportunity to disseminate research results to a wider public or to other target populations. Naturally we guarantee this the freedom of research on the role of an independent advisory committee to be agreed in advance, and using contracts with legally binding clauses for academic freedom.
Our modus operandi independent and open. We are always willing to participate in joint ventures and research consortia, eg. ODIS, APEX or Euopeana Portal. The institute has a main study, Member of the Management Board: he or she contributes to a better internal conduct of research initiatives, and ensures that responds to funding for further research. We have a small team of researchers, To 3 5 people, plus temporary staff depending obtained project financing. The scientific staff of Amsab-ISH is not confined to a separate research unit: scientifically trained employees to collection management and public relations are actively involved in research, again in view of the above cross-pollination within the institute. Temporary project teams are always combined with permanent staff to avoid a post-project brain drain.