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The Socal Strata In Esslingen

Exposure, Networks, and Mobilization: The Petition Movement during the  1848/49 Revolution in a German Town

Lothar Krempel 3  and Michael Schnegg 4


This paper examines how existing social networks are transformed into political action in times of rapid social change. This general theoretical problem is exemplified for the 1848/49 Revolution in Esslingen, a middle-sized German town. We use data from more than 200 historical sources to identify patterns of activity and social linkages for more than 2000 inhabitants of Esslingen at the time of the revolution and during the 15 years preceding it.

Results indicate that existing social structure plays a key role for mobilization processes. Further, they show that the picture needs to be differentiated. Structure does not have the same effect at each stage of the process and for every person involved. Mobilization does not only take place through the existing structure but also occurs in more distinct regions of the network where a common situation and an equivalent position in society at large are the driving forces behind the organization of protest.


... Town1
This paper originates out of our cooperation in the DFG research project: "Political Culture during the 'Vormärz' and the Revolution 1848/1849 in Esslingen" directed by Prof. Dr. Carola Lipp, Institute for European Ethnology (Volkskunde) at the University of Göttingen, Germany. We thank Prof. Dr. Carola Lipp for sharing part of her data with us.
Version 2.1, April, 21th 1999 of a paper presented at the Sunbelt XVIII and Fifth European International Social Networks Conference, Sitges, Spain, May 1998. Special thanks to Johanne St. Charles who has revised our preliminary english version. An online version of this paper is available from
... Krempel 3
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne.
... Schnegg 4
Department of Anthropology, University of Cologne. email:


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