Maarten Van Dijck (1980) is assistant professor in history and theory of the social sciences at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. His teaching concerns the theories and methodologies used in historical and social research.
Van Dijck is interested in the long term developments (15th-18th centuries) of civil societies and public spheres, social inequalities and the relation between criminal justice and behavior patterns in the Low Countries. Modernization theories are central in all these research lines.
His PhD research dealt with the complex relation between criminalization, urbanization and behavior changes in the urban societies of the Low Countries during the late medieval and early modern period. This thesis claims that urban growth in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries caused the decline of interpersonal violence in Europe. Homcide rates tend to be lower in larger cities, especially after 1500.
He is also interested in the evolution of the civil societies and the public spheres in the Low Countries during the late medieval and the early modern period. In 2009, he participated in the summer seminar of the Making Publics research program at McGill University in Montreal. His research deals with asociational life and the formation of publics during the period 1350-1850. The central question concerns the connection between the dynamics of early modern sociability and the rise of a democratic political culture in Western Europe.
A third research line deals with the unequal distribution of social resources in the Low Countries during the early modern period. This research want to broaden to concept of social inequality by introducing Social Network Analysis. The aim is to look at the structure of social relations in the Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch Republic.
He is currently a member of the Center for Historical Culture at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and of the Center for Urban History at the University of Antwerp. He also acts as a member of the board of the Flemish-Dutch journal ‘Stadsgeschiedenis’.