The counter-revolutionary response. Institutional strategies and social mobilization in nineteenth-century Europe

LAURA DI FIORE's picture
Call for Papers
January 31, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, European History / Studies, Intellectual History, Political History / Studies, Social History / Studies

Special Issue of Contemporanea. Rivista di storia dell’800 e del ‘900


CfP: The counter-revolutionary response. 

Institutional strategies and social mobilization in nineteenth-century Europe




Nothing would ever be the same after the French Revolution. The revolution transformed the lives of those who had raised the flags of political and social change in search of a new horizon. But it also transformed the world for all those who did not share that enthusiasm for an uncertain but hopeful future. Things would not go the same way for them either. If the revolution affected society as a whole, from top to bottom, from institutions to the street, even the counter-revolution acquired a total dimension. A characteristic that can be grasped both within the various European monarchies, which were subject to profound tensions and which, on many occasions, collapsed in the face of the revolutionary advance, and internationally, because, without a doubt, it was a phenomenon whose geography, following the revolution itself, was global.


Compared to the traditional, static interpretations of the counter-revolution which, investigating phenomena of resistance to the revolution, have emphasised the wish to bring about a simple return to the past, this issue of Contemporanea aims to focus on the capacity of the counter-revolutionary phenomenon in nineteenth-century Europe to muster a  response, an adaptation and a metamorphosis . The sheer extent of the revolutionary changes, both formal and substantial, made a radical reversal impossible, even for those who apparently seemed to represent the values ​​of the past. The institutional restoration then became a rhetorical formula, if we observe the capacity that the counter-revolutionary forces had to adapt to the new scenario and to try to recover their lost power space. Of particular interest is also the incorporation into their repertoire of action of many of the strategies deployed by revolutionaries in the conquest of power, such as the use of propaganda, recourse to militias and the police, or social mobilization and the promotion of an identity politics among the popular classes. 


This issue of Contemporanea aims to analyse the counter-revolution in nineteenth-century Europe, currently the subject of a new historiographical attention, in all its dimensions, focusing on the following lines of investigation:


a) the counter-revolution as an institutional reaction on the part of monarchies and state apparatuses, which found themselves facing a political enemy possessed of an unprecedented power;


b) the counter-revolution as a phenomenon that brought citizens en masse into the royalist ranks, articulating an armed defence of the old, established thrones. Social mobilization, the forms of politicization and participation of the various social actors and, in particular, the role of the popular classes, will be the focus of particular attention;


c) the international dimension of the counter-revolution: both the institutional containment strategies and the forms of mobilization in defence of counter-revolutionary structures and values ​​developed far beyond the limits of individual national borders;


d) the discourses and languages ​​of the counter-revolution, since the counter-revolution felt the need to create an ad hoc corpus of thought, through dynamics of circulation and exchange of ideas, also on the international level. The formation of a counter-revolutionary discourse was also characterized by the deployment of particular languages conveying concepts and semantic formations which, where political communication was concerned, were in many respects novel.



The proposals (600 words maximum) accompanied by a brief (2-page max) CV should be sent by January 31, 2020 to the editors Laura Di Fiore ( and  Pedro Rújula López ( along with a CC to the editorial secretary ( Responses will be sent by e-mail by February 2020, and the selected essays must be submitted in their final form by July 31, 2020.  All manuscripts will be refereed through a peer-review process (double blind). The special issue will be published by Autumn 2021.  Please note that all manuscripts should be submitted in English.


Contemporanea publishes contributions in Italian and English. For more information about the journal: is indexed by: ISI Web of Science (Art & Humanities Citation Index), Scopus Bibliographic Database, Historical Abstracts, America: History and Life, Articoli italiani di periodici accademici (AIDA), Journal Seek, Essper, Bibliografia storica nazionale, Catalogo italiano dei periodici (ACNP), Google Scholar





Contact Info: 

Laura Di Fiore, Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II"

Contact Email: