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Department of Economic and Social History





The scientific activity of the Chair is carried out in five main research areas. These are: economic history, history of civilization, urban studies, theory and protection of cultural heritage, and cultural economics.

Economic history

  • Economic development of Central Europe
  • Economic history of Małopolska in the 16th and 20th centuries
  • Socio-economic and spatial development of Galicia


History of civilization

  • Cultural history
  • History of European civilization
  • Cultural heritage of Central Europe
  • History of architecture and urban planning


Urban studies

  • Studies on the development of cities and urban planning in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Spatial development and urban problems of Krakow in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Contemporary dilemmas of Krakow’s development
  • Theory and practice of revitalization of historic districts and cities


Theory and protection of cultural heritage

  • Cultural heritage
  • Cultural heritage management
  • UNESCO World Heritage List


Cultural economics

  • Cultural policy
  • Management of cultural institutions
  • Creative industries
  • Museums and museology


The conducted research is interdisciplinary in its nature. A special interest is put on the topics of Central Europe, Galicia, Krakow, the phenomenon of the city, cultural heritage management and cultural economics.

– Galicia

The Chair is currently one of the few research centers in Poland dealing with the multidimensional reinterpretation of the economic, social and spatial changes in Galicia. The research conducted is essential for comparative analyzes of the development of Central Europe in the era of capitalism, and also constitutes an important contribution to research on the cultural heritage of this region. Undertaken studies concern various problems of the socio-economic and spatial development of Galicia.

– Krakow

Research on the history of Krakow and its development has occupied a special place in the research directions undertaken by the Chair’s staff for over sixty years. The major research results include the publication at the end of the 1970s of the first volume of the History of Krakow, edited by prof. Janina Bieniarzówna and the publication in 2016 of the third edition of prof. Jacek Purchla’s Krakow in Central Europe. The latter is a synthesis of the history and culture of Krakow in European civilization, covering the entire spectrum of the city’s history – from the earliest times to the present day. The latest (2022) achievement is the monograph Urban Change in Central Europe the Case of Krakow, in which the authors analyze the political, socio-economic , cultural and architectural development of the city against the background of the ongoing political and economic transformation processes after 1989.

– City

The Chair has been successfully developing interdisciplinary research on urban development and the theory and protection of cultural heritage. Treating the city as a complex organism – the result of social, economic, political and cultural processes – prof. Jacek Purchla created a modern “urbanologist” workshop. The second important thread of scientific activity concerning cities is the research on the architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, which has been pioneering since the mid-1970s.

– Cultural heritage management

The activities carried out at the Chair concern both the theory of cultural heritage and the interdisciplinary issues of managing cultural heritage resources. Undertaken research includes the analysis of the role of culture and cultural institutions in the revitalization of degraded areas, and places included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

– Cultural economics

The Chair conducts pioneering research in the field of cultural economics on a Polish scale, concerning the socio-economic conditions of the functioning of the cultural sector and the impact of various manifestations of culture on the urban development. They include, among others: economic aspects of cultural policy, functioning of culture and creative industries and individual sectors within them.


Programs, statutory research and projects

In addition to individual research (more in the Employees section), the Chair’s researchers conduct joint research projects.

Potential program

2022-2024 – Historic city facing crises, problems and challenges. Project implemented as part of the Potential Program (project manager: KUE professor Andrzej Laskowski)

The aim of the project is to conduct a broad and interdisciplinary analysis of the processes and changes taking place in cities facing crises, problems and challenges related to, among others, migration, armed conflicts, economic and social crises, climate change. It includes both a look at crises in Polish cities and ways of dealing with them in the past, as well as an observation of the current situation in contemporary cities. The analysis of challenges in a broader context of observable trends is supported by specific case studies.

2020 -2022 – City-History-Heritage (project manager: prof. Jacek Purchla)

The result of the project is the monograph Urban Change in Central Europe. The Case of Kraków, edited by prof. Jacek Purchla.

The subject of the project and consequently the publication, were contemporary processes of urban development in Central European countries and the unprecedented scale and dynamics of their development. The changes that Central European cities underwent after 1989 deserved a comprehensive interdisciplinary analysis that would capture the specificity of the transformation taking place in the region, its challenges and problems. Like in a lens, Krakow, a metropolitan center in southern Poland, the former capital of the country, a cultural and scientific center with a population of one million and a leading tourist destination (14 million visitors in 2019), combines rapid market liberalization, deindustrialization and globalization. Because previous research has offered only “one-dimensional” insight into these phenomena, and attempts at broader understanding have only taken the form of articles, there is a lack of in-depth, complex empirical research. The book is a multidimensional and interdisciplinary case study of Krakow, focusing on the changes taking place in Central Europe over the last 30 years, and not on the city phenomenon itself.


Statutory research

Head of statutory research in 2010-2019 – prof. Jacek Purchla

2019 – City-History-Heritage

2018 – City-History-Heritage

The results of research in 2019 and 2018 are chapters in monographs and articles in scientific journals – a list available in the database Achievements [Dorobek] of individual employees for 2018-2020.

2017 –Kraków – Metropolis

The result of the research is the monograph Kraków-Metropolis. Vol. III. Heritage

2016 – Kraków – Metropolis

The result of the research is the monograph Kraków-Metropolis. Vol. II. Development dilemmas

2015 – Kraków – Metropolis

The result of the research is the monograph Kraków-Metropolis. On the 25th anniversary of the birth of local government in the Third Polish Republic

2014 – Galicia and its heritage

The result of the research is the study Civilizational transformations of Galicia and its heritage in south-eastern Poland (unpublished report in printed form).

2013 – Galicia and its heritage

The result of the research is the study Civilizational changes in Galicia in the 19th century. Selected problems (unpublished report in printed form).

2012 – Galicia and its heritage

The result of the research is the study: Civilizational changes in Galicia in the 19th century and the Galician cultural heritage in south-eastern Poland. Selected problems (unpublished report in printed form).

2011 – Cultural heritage of large Polish cities and transformation: a field of conflict or a factor of development (stage II)

The result of the research is the study Problems of using the potential of cultural heritage in the development of Krakow and Małopolska in the period of systemic transformation (after 1989), (unpublished report in the form of a printout).

2010 – Cultural heritage of large Polish cities and transformation: a field of conflict or a factor of development (stage I), (unpublished report in the form of a printout).


International cooperation


An international consortium of Heritopolis university partners, operating as part of the MetroHub initiative, run by UN-Habitat, the UN agency dealing with issues of urbanization and human settlements, including the promotion of sustainable development of urban centers. The initiative’s activities focus on three issues: • What specific role can heritage play in the sustainable development of 21st century metropolises? • How can the metropolitan dimension renew the concept of heritage? • What distinguishes metropolitan heritage? • Can a metropolis be recognized as heritage and how?

HOMEE – Heritage Opportunities/Threats Within Mega-Events in Europe Changing Environments, New Challenges and Possible Solutions for Preservation in Mega-Events Embedded in Heritage-Rich European Cities (2018-2021)

The aim of the HOMEE project, implemented in an international partnership, was to better understand the relationship between mega-events and cultural heritage protection policy, as well as the impact of large events on heritage-rich cities. This was achieved through extensive literature research and analysis of case studies (in Poland, the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016). One of the effects of the project is the Charter of Mega-events in Heritage-rich Cities. KUE was a strategic partner of the project.