Economic and social position of Slovenes during the transition from feudalism to capitalism

fundamental research project
Basic Info


The study will examine the economic and social conditions in the Slovenian part of the Habsburg monarchy during transition from feudalism to capitalism. The main studied period will be the one between the end of Illyric provinces in 1813 and the stock market breakdown in 1873. The essential focus will be on the economic and social changes, caused by the transition from one political and economic system to the other. The multi-layered impact of a predominantly rural society's transition into the post-feudal or pre-industrial and industrial society will interest us from the perspective of the majority rural population, as well as from the perspective of the emerging proletariat. Economic and social changes will be demonstrated by a series of case studies. Individual studies will examine (a) economic causes for the deterioration of the rural population's situation, (b) economic effects of railway network construction and its impact on industrialization, with special focus on the role of Slovenian businessmen, (c) social consequences of transition on the example of a large increase in alcohol consumption, (d) hygienic conditions of city and rural proletariat and (e) medico-social changes on the example of transformation of the public healthcare network due to the extinction of the healer profession and the establishment of "bratovske skladnice" (fraterneties' funds) as a new form of medico-social care to meet the needs of the emerging industrial workers' class. The research will be predominantly based on archival material of the state, provincial, district and communal level, held by the Slovenian and Austrian archives. Other sources such as topographies, administrative indexes (šematizmi) and newspapers will, among others, contribute to the study. Due to the fact that the Slovenian historiography until the present did not study economic and even more social history of the first capitalist transition, the research will have an essential impact on this segment of history of the 19th century. Moreover, it will raise interest in social and economic history that is, compared to political history, under-represented in the Slovenian historiography.

19th century
Habsburg monarchy
social history
economic history
social history of medicine

Research areas
Social and economic history H270
Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914) H240