The research group Economies, Comparisons, Connections (ECC) brings together historians and social scientists who study the interaction of historical processes at varying geographical, social, political, environmental and economic scales. The focus on Economies, Comparisons and Connections is applied to a variety of research topics: case- and regional studies of both rural and urban history; broader societal shifts with trans-regional ramifications; and various models of explanation for economic and social change on a global scale and in the long-term. We pay attention to different units of analysis (households, regions, economies, societies, states, landscapes, networks etc.), to bottom-up regional research (including anthropological methods and field-work), and to methods to investigate processes on wider and global scales (comparative analysis, system-analysis, network-analysis). We construe the notion of ‘economy’ in a broad sense, to include economies of status, or affection, social power relations, and political economy. ECC questions the boundaries and scales of space and place, focusing on the co-construction of the local, the regional and the global, with special attention to (local) agency in regional, cross-regional and global processes.
ECC merges the former research groups CCC – Communities Comparisons Connections and EED – Economy Ecology Demography. We are embedded in the History Department of Ghent University, while building interdisciplinary cooperation with social scientists including geographers, economists, social and political scientists, lawyers, and philosophers. ECC harbors research with a broad spectrum of thematic, temporal and regional foci ranging from Europe, via Asia and Africa, to Latin America. We promote cross-border, interregional and inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation, transcending the traditional classifications of period and geography.
During our monthly meetings, we discuss our current affairs and new work of our colleagues, as well as new developments in the field. ECC is the home base of the international network CORN – Comparative Rural History Network. Since 2013, our group is an active member of the Ghent Centre for Global Studies. In 2016 ECC hosted the World History Association Conference.