The Research Center for the History of Transformations (RECET) uses the post-1989 transformations in Central and Eastern Europe as a starting point for the study of social, economic and cultural transformations in a European and global perspective. Our concept of transformation is inspired by Karl Polanyi´s seminal book The Great Transformation, which contradicts the hegemonic post-1989 teleologies of marketization and democratization. This approach also allows us to take a long-durée perspective on transformations, with emphasis on the interdisciplinary connections to sociology, economics, and cultural and social anthropology.

RECET follows the concept of Comparative Area Studies. Our focus on Central and Eastern Europe is enlarged by comparisons and the study of entanglements with other world regions, such as East Asia, and the co-transformation of Western countries.

A further aim of the Research Center is the revival of social history, in close connection with the Polish tradition of historical sociology and social and cultural anthropology. Here the focus is especially on the connection between macro- and micro-level research and action-oriented social historiography and social analysis (drawing inter alia on Georg Simmel).


The following research areas structure our work:

Labor Relations and Transformation "From Below" 

Economic Thought and Reform Politics

Social Movements and Volunteerism

Migration and Transnationalism

Cultural Transformations


RECET is based on the interdisciplinary cooperation between the Faculty of History and Cultural Studies and the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Vienna, the Vienna Institute for International Economics Studies (WIIW), and the Department for Non-Profit Organizations at Vienna University of Economics and Business. The Center is co-funded by the FWF through the Wittgenstein Prize awarded to Philipp Ther, the Rectorate of the University of Vienna, and selected third parties.