We created the Historical Social Conflict Database (HiSCoD) along two lines. First, we collect and harmonise existing research on social conflict from the end of the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Second, we conduct research to retrieve new episodes of social conflict from primary sources and secondary literature.

The project aims at creating a picture of social conflict in the longue durée as representative as possible across many political entities. We rely on the XML-EAD standards to ensure the sustainability and interoperability of data and to provide a tool that ease the development of new research on these topics.

Surveying and harmonising

To harmonise existing surveys, we standardise information associated with each event. Each record contain on the location, timing (year, month, day), and when possible, the number of participants as well as a brief description of the actors and the course of action.

We categorised each event according to the typology developed by Jean Nicolas (2002, p. 548-550), who distinguishes thirteen types of riots (food riots, tax revolts, anti-seigneurial revolts, etc.), subdivided into elementary types that clarify the nature of events (riot against high staple prices, riot against grain hoarding or to prevent the departure of grains, etc.).

Identifying and collecting

To supplement existing data on social conflicts, we carried out new collection works from primary and secondary sources. To retain an event, we adopted the definition coined by Jean Nicolas (1985, p. 75). It includes all events for which "the threshold of collective violence is met when a group of at least four individuals, not belonging to the same family, directly perpetuate violence against one or more representatives of a political, religious, economic power, etc., or attacks property, buildings, furniture, papers, various signs symbolising these powers."

If you would like to contribute to this project or have already done research on social conflict that could be included in the HiSCoD database, please contact us:

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