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Research Projects

Research is one of the forces driving the intellectual life of the Department. Given the composition and international delivery of our staff, research specialisms are extremely wide-ranging, chronologically and geographically. This breadth is reflected in the choice of subjects on offer in teaching on offer at all levels, from undergraduate to research students.

Externally funded research projects

Narrative Science

Principal Investigator: Professor Mary S. Morgan 

Research Project Summary 

The aim of this project is to understand the role of narrative in modern science. Narratives have appeared in many places in the human, social and natural sciences over the past two centuries. They can be found both in accounts of real situations and in simulations of virtual situations, in empirical work and in theorizing. It is clear that narratives have played important roles for scientists well beyond the simple act of reporting. Yet we lack an account of what kinds of thing scientists know from using narrative and how such ‘narrative knowing’ is constituted. Indeed, with the notable exceptions of medicine and evolutionary biology, even the study of those fields’ narratives - as narratives - has been largely ignored by both historians of science and narrative scholars.

What do scientists gain from using narratives, what functions do narratives play? Initial research shows that scientists have used narratives to figure out what fits together with what, and to create coherence amongst the elements in their research.  But the means of such ordering vary - from site to site, and from science to science. Narratives used to explore a path dependent system in nineteenth century biology used a different mode of ordering both from the configuring narratives of mid-twentieth century case studies in sociology, and from the ‘how possibly’ narratives of modern computer-based simulations. Such variety requires a broad project, using many case studies to explore the critical role that scientists’ narratives have played in modern science. Making sense of such variety offers an ambitious challenge. But while there is surely no simple answer to why scientists use narratives, all these notions of narrative ordering do have something in common. They suggest that narratives function not just to describe and report as one might expect, they play a much more important role in answering scientists’s own questions and so - in various ways - in providing scientific explanations.  

This project is funded by the EU.

Children's Growth During a Long-run Health Transition: Britain in International Perspective, 1850-1995

Funded by the ESRC, this project seeks to reconstruct the growth pattern of British children from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, to understand how improvements in nutrition, sanitation, and medical knowledge during Britain’s long-run health transition from 1850 onwards influenced children’s growth pattern in terms of height, weight and BMI. The data produced will supply a longer-run perspective on the immediate and intergenerational factors influencing children’s growth in Britain and internationally and indicate how the shift from an unhealthy to more healthy growth pattern took place.

The project is led by Dr. Eric Schneider (e.b.schneider@lse.ac.uk), and full details of the project can be found here:


Economic Outcomes Flowing from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust and with support from LSE, a network of European economic historians has been formed to examine contrasts in the economic outcomes and potential for long term development that flowed from the Napoleonic wars for several major European economies (including Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany) their overseas colonies. Among other outcomes, the network will create case studies for a major book which aims to exemplify the insights obtained from reciprocal comparisons and the value of research in economics and history based upon collaboration. 

The Lead Investigator (Patrick O’Brien) and Network Facilitator (Loraine Long) are located at LSE. 

Macroeconomics and Financial History (MACROHIST)

MACROHIST brings together some of the strongest European departments in history (Geneva, Oxford), economic history (Carlos III, LSE) and economics (Humboldt, Sciences Po, ULB). Its aim is to expose young macroeconomists to the most recent work in macroeconomic and financial history, and to expose young economic and financial historians to the most recent techniques in financial and macroeconomics. It is thus explicitly inter-disciplinary. The training will involve formal training in the methods of both economics and economic history. It will provide this by drawing not only on the training programmes of the partner institutions, which reflect their differing disciplinary backgrounds, but by providing a series of network-wide training events explicitly geared towards young researchers in macroeconomics and macroeconomic history. Insofar as it is practical to do so, we will encourage young researchers from other institutions to attend these training events, so as to maximise the impact of this network’s activities across Europe. A key consideration will be to ensure that young researchers from one institution spend time in other institutions, so as to benefit from the specialised training unavailable in their own university and in doing so benefit from exposure to the quite different research cultures of economics and history/economic history departments.

For more details click here or on the MACROHIST menu button.


Historical Citizenship - Guilds and Apprenticeship

Before the emergence of national citizenship in the wake of the French Revolution (1789), European countries had only local—more specifically urban—forms of formal citizenship rights. Citizenship in this period has been hailed by some as one of Europe’s advantages. Others are more critical, depicting citizenship as a form of exclusion against females, religious minorities and migrants, and a constraint on the free movement of citizens. Local citizenship was abolished in most European countries around 1800 in favour of national citizenship. As a result, during much of the 19th century European states experimented with various elements of national citizenship.

This project examines two stages of the history of citizenship: 

  • the working of local citizenship arrangements before 1789
  • the formation of national citizenship in the 19th century. It will allow us to compare various citizenship regimes, and connect their characteristics to economic performance and over-all well-being.

The project is funded by the European Union and aims to provide a long-term perspective on the issues facing modern policy-makers in relation with citizenship in the multi-national environment of the EU. It forms part of a large project, bEUCitizen, exploring obstacles to EU Citizenship today.

Contact: p.h.wallis@lse.ac.uk or click here for more details