Graduate School

Society in the age of modernization

This course is part of the programme:
Humanities (Third level)

Objectives and competences

The subject provides the student with the fundamental knowledge in the field of social history and a contextualisation of social development, structures and events in the process of modernization. The student attains the experience of doing independent and group seminar work; doing research in libraries, archives or field work; creating scientific and professional texts, and public presenations.


Prerequisities for the subject Society in the age of modernization:

regular attendance at lectures (75%);

active participation at lectures;

(involvement in discussions, regular reading of relevant literature with an oral presentation of 15 to 20 minutes).

At the end of lectures and seminar work, students will submit their independent final exam assignment (20 pages).

Pre-knowledge: in the field of historical studies, with an emphasis on social themes; an active knowledge of English is expected as well.

Content (Syllabus outline)

The subject is concerned with social developments and the European society in the light of transformations which occured in the age of modernization from the end of the 18 century until the two World Wars.

The subject has three parts:

a review of social history, with an emphasis on demographic, economic, political and cultural factors, as well as the consequences related to long duration continuities and discontinuities;

the monographic part is devoted to deepening the understanding of the selected themes;

the seminar part is devoted to the student’s independent study of selected themes and aspects.

The introductory part focuses on theoretical foundations and methodological approaches to social history.

The thematic part includes the following chapters:

transition from rank to class society and transformation of social structures in the age of modernization;

demographic transitions;

history of job occupations and their inclusion into new forms of production;

social classes and stratification; family;

urbanisation, migrations, city and country society;

education, public and private life;

instituions, social movements, social conflicts;

secularization, politization, nationalization of social life; state governement systems, social control, and social state.

The students will be acquianted with developments in the field of social history, history schools, relevant literature and sources for studying social history, research institutions, journals, and web sources.

The emphasis is on the history of Europe and the Mediterranean, with a special focus on the middle and south-east Europe, and on the comparative approach.

Intended learning outcomes

The student gets to know relevant methodological approaches, and attains both general and specific knowledge of the subject contents. A foundation is laid for an independent research and understaing of themes in the field of social history, critical reading of literature and work with sources. The student will be able to articulate, contextualise, connect and evaluate social processes at the macro, middle and micro level. Also, the student will get to know the selected research methods and sources, and the fundamental literature; web and other referential points (institutions, archives, libraries) for an independent work in the field of social history.


Bade K. (2003): Migration in European History, Wiley-Blackwell.

Ariès P., Duby G. (1994): A History of Private Life: From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War v. 4, Harvard University Press.

Barbagli M., Kertzer D. I. (2003): The history of the European family. 2. Family life in the long nineteenth century, 1789–1913, New Haven, London.Bayly C. A. (2007): The Birth of the Modern World, 1780–1914. Global Connections and Comparisons, University of Cambridge

Blaznik P, Grafenauer B., Vilfan S. (1980): Gospodarska in družbena zgodovina Slovencev. Zgodovina agrarnih panog, 2 zv., Državna založba Slovenije, Ljubljana.

Bush M. L. (1992): Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification, London and New York, Longman.

Hobsbawm E. (1996): The Age of Revolution, Vintage.

Hobsbawm E. (1996): The Age of Capital, Vintage.

Hobsbawm E. (1989): The Age of Empire, Vintage.

Hudson P. (1992, 2004, 2007): The industrial revolution, Hodder, London.

Katznelson I., Zolberg A. R. (eds.) (1986): Working-class formation: Nineteenth-century patterns in Western Europe and the United States, Princeton University Press.

Kocka J. , Mitchel A. (1993): Bourgeois Society in 19th Century Europe, Berg Publishers.

Laslett P. (2000): The world we have lost. Further explored

Lees A., Lees L. H. (2007): Cities and the Making of Modern Europe, 1750–1914, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Livi Bacci M., Prebivalstvo v zgodovini Evrope, Ljubljana 2005.

Moch L. P. (1992): Moving Europeans. Migration in Western Europe since 1650, Bloomington-Indianapolis.Kocka J., Mitchel A. (1993): Bourgeois Society in Nineteenth-Century Europe.

Sieder R. (1998): Socialna zgodovina družine, Studia humanitatis, ZRC, Ljubljana.

Tilly L. A., Scott J. W (1989): Women, work and family, Routledge.


Group seminar work (oral, presentations) / Independent seminar work (written) / Oral exam

Lecturer's references

Aleksej Kalc (Trieste, 1957) obtained his first degree diploma from the University of Trieste and his doctorate in the field of historical anthropology from the Istitutum Studiorum Humanitatis in Ljubljana. Professor Kalc works at the Institute for Slovene Migration (Slovene Academy for Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana) and at the School of Humanities at the University of Primorska, Koper.

In years 2007 – 2013, professor Kalc taught the following subjects at the University of Primorska: Modernization, Comparative history of Europe and the Mediterranean, New era history, and Modern history.

In the academic year 2014-15, he taught the History of migrations and the Methodology of empirical work in the humanities at the School of Humanities of the University of Nova Gorica; in the same year, he was head of the Laboratory for history and citizenship education at the School of Humanities of the University of Trieste.

The focus o Professor Kalc’s research is on social history, with an emphasis on the history of populations, migrations, city history, and history of migration policies.

KALC, Aleksej. Tržaško prebivalstvo v 18. stoletju : priseljevanje kot gibalo demografske rasti in družbenih sprememb, (Knjižnica Annales Majora). Koper: Univerza na Primorskem, Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče, Založba Annales: Zgodovinsko društvo za južno Primorsko; Trst: Narodna

in študijska knjižnica, 2008. 344 str., graf. prikazi. ISBN 978-961-6732-05-5. [COBISS.SI-ID 243386112]

KALC, Aleksej. Immigration policy in eighteenth-century Trieste. V: MUNCK, Bert De (ur.), WINTER, Anne (ur.). Gated communities? : regulating migration in early modern cities. Farnham: Ashgate, cop. 2012, str. 117–134. [COBISS.SI-ID 2170579]

KALC, Aleksej. Vidiki razvoja prebivalstva Goriške-Gradiške v 19. stoletju in do prve svetovne vojne. Acta Histriae, ISSN 1318-0185, 2013, letn. 21, št. 4, str. 683–706, ilustr. [COBISS.SI-ID 36537901]

KALC, Aleksej. Žensko priseljevanje in zaposlovanje v Trstu na prelomu 19. in 20. stoletja. Dve domovini, ISSN 0353-6777. [Tiskana izd.], 2014, [Št.] 40, str. 11–22.

KALC, Aleksej. Tržaški fakini, gospodarsko neprecenljivi socialni prestopniki: predavanje na znanstvenem posvetovanju “Zakon preživetja: nelegalne prakse in ljudski odpor”, Fakulteta za humanistične študije, Koper, 20. jun. 2014. [COBISS.SI-ID 37478957]

University course code: 3IK063

Year of study: 1

Course principal:




  • Lectures: 30 hours
  • Individual work: 150 hours

Course type: elective

Learning and teaching methods:
lectures group seminar work (readings and discussion of literature) independent seminar work (seminar assignment, presentation of the assignment) field work (among other things, visits to institutions which have resources on social history)