Economic and Social History approaches economic and social change from a long-term historical perspective. Key topics include the history of industrialization and the industrial revolution, the emergence of social classes and strata, demographic change, as well as the dynamics of economic growth and stagnation. Recent years have also seen the development of new topics and methodological approaches. Thus Economic and Social History has analysed the significance of religious worldviews, legal norms and political systems in the development of modern market economies. Macro-historical approaches are increasingly supplemented by insights drawn from action theory. The discipline has also received valuable contributions from cultural studies that have enriched the theoretical resources of economics and social sciences.
Comparative European and global perspectives are at the heart of research and teaching of Social and Economic History at Humboldt University. Research focuses on the history of economic knowledge, the transformation of agrarian societies in the modern age, as well as the globalization of consumption and markets. Further research projects investigate the history of corruption and clientelism since the 18th century, economic history during the Third Reich and Italian Fascism, as well as issues in entrepreneurial history and labour in (post)industrial societies.