PhD ceremony: W.F.Y. Scheltjens, 14.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Thesis: De invloed van ruimtelijke verandering op operationele strategieën in de vroeg-moderne Nederlandse scheepvaart. Een case study over Nederlandse scheepvaart in de Finse Golf en op Archangel, 1703-1740
Promotor(s): prof. H.W. Hoen
In his PhD research Werner Scheltjens has made an attempt to define the influence of spatial change on the operational strategies of early-modern Dutch ship masters. To this end, the influence which the foundation of St. Petersburg may have had on Dutch maritime shipping in the Gulf of Finland and on Archangel in the period 1703-1740 was selected as a case. Extensive historiographical and methodological research preceded the case-study.
Analysis of historiography brought to light that maritime shipping misses a coherent definition as economic activity. All too often, maritime shipping is seen as a spin-off effect of trade. It was then stated that an evolutionary approach might help overcoming the limitations of a conventional view on maritime shipping. However, for such an approach to be successful, the treatment of maritime historical resources would have to respond to the specific requirements of evolutionary economic theory. Consequently, the development and testing of an evolutionary information system obtained a central position in this PhD research.
Empirical analysis showed that individual behavioral strategies of Dutch ship masters as well as changes in the behavior of populations of ship masters could be related to processes of polarization and specialization. This resulted in an pattern that resembles the micro meso macro analytical framework of evolutionary economics as proposed by Dopfer, Foster and Potts. The analysis of micro cases and their consequent aggregation in dynamic populations clearly showed that relational databases in which the micro meso macro framework is reflected strengthen the explanatory possibilities of economic historians.
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