PhD Defence: Thomas D’haeninck: "Social reformers in search of a moral revival"


Social Network Analysis from the PhD of Thomas D’haeninck


In the context of GhentCDH's Transnational Intellectual Collaboration (TIC) project, Thomas D’haeninck defended his doctoral dissertation on 16th October in Ghent University's conference centre, 'Het Pand'. In “Social reformers in search of a moral revival. A social historical and transnational study of the attendance of Belgians at international reform congresses (1850-1914)”, Thomas studied the “culture of international congresses” via a relational and actor-centred approach by applying Social Network Analysis (SNA) techniques to a large sample of congress attendees (> 7200 people). In his PhD he provides answers to the research questions: why Belgian reformers attended international congresses and to what extent this contributed to their pursuit to uplift society morally.

The visualisation (right), taken from Thomas' PhD thesis, illustrates a network of international social reform conferences between 1853 and 1914, which are linked through the attendence of Belgian and Dutch delegates (co-members). The nodes in the network are the conferences (291) and the edges are the number of co-members (7249).