School of History

Exploring the History of Seventies Europe

13 March 2019

The 1970s are sometimes referred to as the turning point in European history, a time in which society underwent profound cultural transformation and structural change. This was the time when the post-war emphasis on reconstruction and economic growth faded, and our current world began to take shape.

The value change of the Seventies was a transnational phenomenon, caused by local, national and global factors. In the different countries and regions of Europe these factors combined in specific ways to produce nationally specific profiles of cultural change, social restructuring and political democratisation.

This weekend, two academics from the School of History will participate in a major conference, An Era of Value Change - The Seventies in Europe, exploring these issues. Co-convened by Marie Curie Research fellow Dr Fiammetta Balestracci, the conference will be held at the German Historical Institute (GHI).

Funded by the European Commission, the GHI and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) the conference will explore international similarities, national peculiarities and transnational connections, as well as variations in timing, in regard to value changes in different sectors and countries.

The aim of the conference is to compare processes of change across different European countries. These changes transcended the political divisions of the Cold War, and between the Northern democratic states and the Southern dictatorial regimes of Europe, as they were labelled at the time. 

The conference will also examine how, aside from national self-perceptions, the Seventies represented a moment of transformation and discontinuity in the history of European society.

Dr Fiammetta Balestracci said that she was hopeful “that the conference can change the public and historiographic perception on the Seventies in many European countries.” 

In addition to Dr Fiammetta Balestracci, the conference was also co-convened by Professor Martin Baumeister, Director of the German Historical Institute of Rome, and Professor Christina von Hodenberg, Director of the German Historical Institute of London (who is also on secondment from Queen Mary’s School of History).