2023-2024 / HIST0176-1

Introduction to social and economic history of contemporary Belgium


30h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in political sciences : general5 crédits 
 Bachelor in human and social sciences4 crédits 
 Bachelor in human and social sciences (New programme)5 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of social sciences)5 crédits 
 Master in multilingual communication (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


Eric Geerkens

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course provides an historical overview of the genesis of the Belgian contemporary society and of its socio-economic instoitutions.

The course will first describe the advent of Belgian industrial capitalism in relation with Industrial Revolution. On the second time, the course is organised according to a thematic framework; the 8 following topics are examined from 1850' to 1970', links are made to current topics, as well as with the Belgian Political History course:

  • The general economic characteristics of Belgian capitalism (actors, sectors which support growth, etc.);
  • Growth and crisis of the Belgian capitalism;
  • The role of the State in economic life;
  • The making of the classes and their evolution;
  • The living conditions of the population;
  • Class in itself, class for itself: the organisation of the workers' movement and employers' forces;
  • The origin and development of the Belgian industrial relations system;
  • From social insurances to the modern Belgian welfare system.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Informed about the context which saw the birth of social and political sciences, the students will gain a better understanding of some of the key concept of their discipline, as well as of the economic and social challenges in the world around them today.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods


Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:


Recommended or required readings

From the very first lesson, students receive a detailed plan of the entire course. Before each class, students will receive a copy of the PowerPoint slides to be seen in class and will regularly be given indications for reading which will shed light on certain questions. These optional readings will not, however, be on subjects upon which they will be graded.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Additional information:

In Juny as in September, an oral exam will be organized; this exam will start with a written preparation of the answer to a first question (drawn question). This is followed by two other questions (linked to the first one; when you draw the first one, you actually draw the three questions) for which the preparation time will be shorter.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Eric Geerkens, professor Histoire économique et sociale quai Roosevelt, 1B (Bât. A4, office I9) 4000 Liège Belgium
Tel. ULg : +32 4 366 53 59 E-mail : e.geerkens@uliege.be 

Association of one or more MOOCs