The history of kings and queens has always appealed to popular imagery. Monarchy is also a central theme to classic surveys of political history. The present volume approaches the relation between imagery and authority of the monarchy from a cultural historical angle. The authors focus on the different discourses produced since the Middle Ages aiming at the symbolic construction of royal power in Western Europe, as well as at its subversion. The history of monarchy is not a linear process from sacralization to banalization. Throughout premodern, modern and postmodern times, the mystification and demystification of the monarch remain inextricably intertwined.
In recent years, several authors have stated that emotions have come to play a more important role in political life, especially in political mass mobilisation. Ouring the 1990s, Belgium and other Western countries have indeed witnessed some spectacular examples of emotion-driven mobilisation. In this article, we argue that emotions are not an innovation in political mass-mobilisation. Various examples from the Belgian political history of the 19th and 20th centuries demonstrate that emotions have always been a key factor for explaining the occurrence, the form and the outcome of political protest. The mobilising role of emotions cannot be considered as aquantitative innovation, and therefore the expression 'new emotional movements' does not seem warranted. We make the claim that these recent mobilisations are not typical because of their reliance on emotions, but rather because of their tendency toward de-institutionalisation.
SummaryThis article illuminates the transforming impact of collective action in the light of the industrial jacquerie of 1886 in Belgium. This important episode of popular struggle fuelled a dialectical process of change which was marked by a fundamental shift in both social policy and in repertoires of collective action. In 1886 workers still drew on an old repertoire of collective action. Their struggle had such a disruptive force that it forced the state to intervene in labour conflicts. The conservative political élite responded with conciliatory gestures that foreshadowed a legislative programme of social reform. In the changed political climate the position of progressive wings in the two conservative parties was enhanced as the growing strength of the labour movement became more apparent. The industrial jacquerie functioned as a catalyst in the transition from old to new repertoires of collective action. In the aftermath of the revolt, mass collective action quickly, and extensively, came under the control of the Parti Ouvrier Belge (POB).