The Centre for Economic and Social History
The Centre for Economic and Social History at the University of Ostrava's Faculty of Arts was established in 2008. It is a centre of research excellence whose scholarly work meets the highest international standards. The focus of the Centre's research is in accordance with the core interests of the Department of History. The Centre provides a platform for integrating the specialist fields of individual researchers into coordinated projects addressing topical issues which have not yet been adequately investigated by Czech historiographers, but which are of key importance for understanding the complex interrelationships that combine to make up our contemporary society.
Currently, the Centre's research team is applying a multi-perspective approach to issues connected with the historical process of modernization in Austrian Silesia and North Moravia, comparing these specific processes with more general developmental trends. This research creates a substantial knowledge base which will facilitate future analyses and comparisons with modernization processes in other regions.
The members of the Centre include researchers and teaching staff at the Department of History (part of the Faculty of Arts), as well as a range of experts from other research institutions. The research projects carried out at the Centre also systematically involve undergraduate and postgraduate history students at the Faculty of Arts.
One of the key benefits of the Centre (both for students and for established scholars) is its involvement in a systematic and targeted process of facilitating high-quality research (e.g. by organizing study stays and research stays) as well as for the presentation (workshops, conferences) and publication of research findings. The Centre has its own editorial series, and it also publishes a range of monographs.
Research focus of the Centre for Economic and Social History
The Centre for Economic and Social History provides a platform for integrating the specialist fields of individual researchers into coordinated projects addressing topical issues which have not yet been adequately investigated by Czech historiographers, but which are of key importance for understanding the complex interrelationships that combine to make up our contemporary society. Its core area of focus is the analysis of historical processes of modernization – which played a key role in the transition from an agrarian society (with traditional social stratification) into a modern industrial society. On the theoretical level, the Centre's staff draw on methodological concepts developed by the sociologist Reinhard Bendix as well as taking a critical analytical approach to the process of modernization as pioneered by Jürgen Kocka, Michael Mitterauer and Hans-Uhlrich Wehler.
Research topics and aims:
- verifying the validity of the theory claiming that modernization, despite its global nature, is a process which unfolds on a regional level;
- formulating the factors that give rise to modernization and identifying how they evolve during the modernization process itself;
- analyzing specific regional aspects of the historical process of modernization;
- analyzing the historical process of modernization with an emphasis on its anthropological aspects;
- analyzing the manifestations, course and impacts of the process of modernization within individual parts of society and its structures.
Specific research projects at the Centre:
The Centre's research team focuses primarily on the following specific issues:
- Historical and theoretical issues connected with historical modernization processes and research methodology, manifestations of modernization in individual economic sectors and their interactions;
- Historical demographic research, issues related to migration and the role of minorities, the evolution of the family from a historical perspective;
- The formation of civil society, the genesis of social, legal and technological innovations, their interactions and role in changes of social structure, the genesis of social networks and infrastructure from a historical perspective;
- The transformation of the social and cultural structure of society and changes in lifestyle, the integration of old social strata and the emergence of new social strata, the genesis of the proletariat and the entrepreneurial class, the participation of the state and social strata in these changes, the formation of a legislative framework and its evolution in connection with changing social and economic factors and shifts in social structure;
- Issues of education and professionalization, social inclusion and exclusion, gender, ethnicity, age, knowledge. Motivation of actors leading to improvements in social position, impacts of social policy tools during periods of economic growth and decline, the influence of crises on social structure, the options and adaptability of societal components;
- Gender studies, urban studies, cultural anthropology, multiculturalism;
- Protection and preservation of cultural heritage via education, methods and methodology of cultural heritage protection;
- Associations, non-profit organizations etc. and their evolution in connection with changing economic and social structures;
- The research team's main area of focus involves the economic and social manifestations of the historical process of modernization in Austrian Silesia and North Moravia, comparing these specific processes with more general developmental trends. This research creates a substantial knowledge base which will facilitate future analyses and comparisons with modernization processes in other regions.
Updated: 08. 10. 2020