Accidents are challenges to the structures of modern societies. They expose structural weaknesses and often give rise to new developments and legal and social innovations that aim at preventing accidents or diminishing their impact. The consequences of accidents are enormous: They often lead to a huge death toll and vast economic costs and they disturb social and economic processes. In the workshop on ‘Accidents and the state’ we want to discuss the changing relationships between accidents and the modern states during the 20th century. How are accidents debated in a political context? Do accidents affect the legitimacy of the modern state? What is the role of varying concepts of citizenship for the perception of accidents and the development of responses to them?
Frédéric Vagneron will present a paper on "The "moment of the accident" and the multiple causation behind the rise of municipal ambulances and emergency rescue services in the European Urban Environment (1880-1914)".