Economic and social transformations in historical perspective

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

Objectives and competences

Analytical skills related to interpreting partial and local economic and social phenomena in the wider context of economic and social development.
Ability to carry out economic-historical analyses on the basis of appropriate sources and historical documentation.
Ability to write scientific articles in the field of economic and social history.


The formal prerequisites:
a second degree study completed;
enrolment to the postgraduate study programme.


The aim of the course is to present the economic and social transformations of economy and society. The course is concerned with how people worked and lived in the past, and with the transition from feudalism to capitalism up the end of the twentieth century. With such an approach, an interpretation of economic and social transformations is given in the context of mutuality and causality of historical processes. The emphasis is on fundamental long-term developmental tendencies in economy and society that have caused the radical transformation of the economic and social structure and the emergence of modern economy and society.

Intended learning outcomes

A wide range of historical knowledge providing an understanding of the dynamics and controversies of economic and social modernization within the historical perspective.
Understanding the general developmental tendencies and deviations at various levels of economic development; understanding the process of transformation of a long-term economic situation.


D. S. Landes, The wealth and poverty of nation: why some are so rich and some so poor?. London, 1999.
D. S. Landes, The unbound Prometheus: Technological change and industrial development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present, 1988.
N. Rosenberg in L.E.Birdzell, How the West grew rich: the economic transformation of the industrial world. New York, 1993.
N. North, Institutions, institutional change and economic performance, Cambridge University Press, 1990.
N. North, Understanding the process of economic change, Princeton University Press, 2005.
The Cambridge Economic history of Europe, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
R. Cameron – Larry Neal, A concise economic history of the world, Oxford University Press, 2002.
Berend, An Economic History of Nineteenth Century Europe, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Berend, An Economic History of Twentieth Century Europe, Cambridge University Press, 2006.


oral exam 50 % / presentation 10 % / seminar assignment 40 %

Lecturer's references

Lecturer's references:

Žarko Lazarević completed his PhD studies at the University of Ljubljana in 1992 in the field of debt-based financing of the modernisation of Slovene agriculture from the mid-nineteen century to the Second World War. The themes of his later research work include: developments in agriculture, the industrialisation process, cooperative societies, entrepreneurism, the role of nationalism in economy, representation and perceptions of national interest, consumerism and advertising to the development of financial sector in Slovenia within the European context in the period of late 19 and 20 century. At the same time, professor Lazarević has been active in researching the influence of economic processes on the social structure and, within this framework, on long-term structural changes in the economic-social image of Slovenia. Over the last few year, professor Lazarević has done an intensive research related to history teaching in education, textbooks and their conceptions, perceptions and presentations. Professor Lazarević holds the position of Scientific Advisor at the Institute of Contemporary History in Ljubljana; he is a full-time professor at the Cultural History programme of the University of Nova Gorica.

Recent publications:
Von der Besatzung zur Liquiderung - : das slowenische Bankwesen in den 1940er Jahren, in: Ralf Ahrens (ed.), Umbrüche und Kontinuitäten in der mitteleuropäischen Kreditwirtschaft nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, (Geld und Kapital, 2005/06, Stutgart, 2008, 47-62);
Kontinuitäten und Brüche: der lange Weg zu einer slowenischen Wirtschaftsgeschichte des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, in: Klaus Tenfelde, Sabine Rutar and Rolf Wörsdörfer (eds.), Sozialgeschichte und soziale Bewegungen in Slowenien, (Mitteilungsblatt des Instituts für soziale Bewegungen, Nr. 41) (Essen, 2009, 51-69);
The replacement of economic elites in Slovenia after world war II., in: Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte (2010, Nr. 2, 147-162);
Slovenian Banks during the Great Depression, in: Economic and Financial Stability in SE Europe in a Historical and Comparative Perspective: Fourth Conference of Southeast Europe Monetary History Network (Beograd 2010, 1-16);
Cooperative models, practices, and meanings : tools for coping with personal and social risks. Megatrend rev., 2011, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 233-258;
Education and economic development in Slovenia : some observations up to WWI. In: VODOPIVEC, Peter (ed.), GABRIČ, Aleš (ed.). The role of education and universities in modernization processes in Central and South-Eastern European counties [i. e. countries] in 19th and 20th century, (Zbirka Vpogledi, 3). Ljubljana: Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino: Avstrijski znanstveni institut; Wien: Zentrum für Soziale Innovation, 2011, pp. 103-114;
Backgrounds and concepts of economic sanctioning in Slovenia during the 20th century. In: KOSTER, Margo de (ed.). Justice in wartime and revolutions : Europe, 1795-1950 : Europe, 1795-1950. Bruxelles = Brussels = Brussel: Algemeen Rijkarchief: = Archives générales du Royume, 2012, pp. 239-256.
The concept of progress in the teaching of history : some observations from Slovenian textbooks. V: SHIBA, Nobuhiro (ed.), GABRIČ, Aleš (ed.), SUZUKI, Kenta (ed.), LAZAREVIĆ, Žarko (ed.). School history and textbooks: a comparative analysis of history textbooks in Japan and Slovenia, Ljubljana: Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino, 2013, str. 205-217.