Images of Economic and Social Modernisation in Slovenia in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Economic and Social History of Slovenia

Images of Economic and Social Modernisation in Slovenia in the 19th and 20th Centuries


Keywords: economic history, social history, economic modernization, social modernization, 19th Century, 20th Century, Slovenia, social institutions, economic institutions, transition, transformation, society, economy, economic and social regimes

Code: P6-0280

Period: 1.1.2015 - 31.12.2020

Range in 2020: 3,7 FTE

Head: Dr Lazarevič Žarko

Researchers: Dr Dunja Dobaja, Nataša Henig Miščič,  Dr Meta Remec, Dr Marta Rendla, Ivan Smiljanič, Dr Andrej Studen, Dr Mojca Šorn, Dr Nina Vodopivec

The program research group is the only one in Slovenia with the clearly defined research agenda in economic and social history in the period of modern history. In recent years, the group has developed its own scientific identity within the Slovene historiography and humanities. Based on its research achievements the dialogue with the international historiographical community in the field of economic and social history is enabled. Besides that, the conception of group research work includes the contextualization of Slovene economic and social phenomena into the broader European development path in the long term and comparative perspective. With such approach, we stimulate the exchange of knowledge, new methodology of research work and established research praxis into the Slovene historiographical apparatus. The programme group is paving the way for a specific area of economic and social history within Slovenian historiography, ensuring its recognition in the broader European scientific environment with the publishing of articles in foreign scientific journals, chapters in monographs, with the presentation of our research work on international conferences and with participation in international projects.

In the research program The Images if economic and social modernization (Economic and social history of Slovenia) we are giving attention on the basic problems of economic and social transformation of Slovene territory in the 19 and 20th century in the context of European economic and social development. The timespan of the proposed program is limited by the existence of modern economic and social systems in Slovenia: capitalism, socialism/communism and the period of transition. In the term of political geography, the proposition includes in research agenda the existence of states of Habsburg monarchy, Yugoslavia and independent Slovenia after 1991. The submitted programme scheme is based on two conceptual principles: long‑term nature and comparativeness of historical processes. With the first concept, we provide the possibilities for a better and deeper understanding of economic and social processes in the context of developmental codependency of economy and society. The principle of comparativeness will enable us to confront the dynamics of historical phenomena’s in Slovenia with regional and European historical backgrounds.  As research questions we emphasize the continuities and discontinuities of economic and social development and the phases of so called transitions/transformations.

 In the first place, we are following the initial research dilemma of the quality of economic and social development in Slovenia in the context of emergence and existence of social and economic institutions, their historical characteristics. In the actual scientific discussions on the quality and the dynamics of historical development, the institutions are considered to have a crucial role in the process of modernization. Systems of effective institutions are also considered as a prerequisite for the sustainable long-term economic and social development.


With this program, we express our intention to implement the conceptual framework of institutional theory in historiographical research. The institutional theory provides us with the opportunity for synergic use of methodological apparatus of historiography and that of social sciences. With such an approach we bring together the empirical and conceptual framework of the proposed research program. Although there are different or partial definitions of term institution (in different scientific disciplines), we are also dealing with the common widely accepted definition. The concept of Douglas C. North is such a case, where institutions are the “rules” in the economy and society. Rules lower the uncertainty on one hand and on the other they determinate the behaviour of individuals or organizations in the economic and social life; institutions regulate their relations and cooperation. We consider institutions as phenomena’s of formal and informal nature, which as a standard determinate the quality and dynamics of economic and social development.  The analysis on the base of institutions, their forms in historical process, provide us with knowledge on the developmental and comparative features of the society in a long-term perspective.