Dr. Florian Peters

Florian Peters is a historian specialising in the contemporary history of Poland and East Central Europe. After graduating from Christian Albrechts University Kiel, he received his Ph.D. in 2014 from Humboldt University Berlin for a thesis devoted to memory and politics of history in late socialist Poland. Before joining SFB 294 and Friedrich Schiller University Jena in April 2021, he worked as a Postdoc researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History Munich–Berlin and at European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). His current research focusses on social and economic dimensions of the post-socialist transformations in Poland.

A picture of Dr. Florian Peters.

Research Project

Take your destiny into your own hands. Privatisation and municipal self-government in post-socialist Poland

The SFB’s research project B7 addresses the most profound change in property regimes in recent European history: the privatisation of the formerly state-socialist economies in Eastern Europe since 1989. My research focusses on post-socialist Poland and includes a set of local case studies investigating the conflicts over the (re-)establishment of private and municipal property.

The institutionalisation of local self-government in Poland in 1990 drew heavily on notions of economic self-governance promoted by the unprecedented social movement of Solidarity in 1980/81. Hence, it was somewhat at odds with the neoliberal macro-economic shock therapy introduced at the same time. By analysing the contradictions and struggles arousing from this tension, the project aspires to add a historically informed perspective to ongoing debates on the results of post-socialist transformations, as well as to provide historical reflection for recent re-evaluations of communal property.


Recent Publications

Academic publications
  • Peters, Florian (2024): “Shock Therapy Mythologies. Contested Memories of Poland’s Balcerowicz Plan“, In: Wawrzyniak, J.; Pehe, V. (eds.): Remembering the Neoliberal Turn. Economic Change and Collective Memory in Eastern Europe after 1989, London: Routledge, 22–38.
  • Peters, Florian (2023a): Von Solidarność zur Schocktherapie. Wie der Kapitalismus nach Polen kam, Berlin: Ch. Links.
  • Peters, Florian (2023b): “Inflation und Schocktherapie. Polnische Transformationserfahrungen”, In: Mittelweg 36, Nr. 6/2023, 108–126.
  • Peters, Florian (2023c): “Neoliberal Takeover? How the Social History of Economic Ideas Contributes to Historicising Post-socialist Transformations”, In: Forum Historiae 17 (2023), Nr. 2, 58–69. DOI: 10.31577/forhist.2023.17.2.5.
  • Peters, Florian (2023d): “„Es begann in Danzig“. Polens Transformation von 1989 zwischen städtischer und nationaler Geschichtskultur”, In: Groh, C.; Nieß, U.; Mix, A. (eds.): Stadt und Erinnerungskultur, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 233–256.
  • Peters, Florian (2022): “Sozialismus, Nation, Westkredite. Nation-building und außenpolitische Orientierungen im staatssozialistischen Polen“, In: Bianka Pietrow-Ennker (ed.): Nationsbildung und Außenpolitik im Osten Europas. Nationsbildungsprozesse, Konstruktionen nationaler Identität und außenpolitische Positionierung im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert, Osnabrück: fibre, 355-374.

Download the complete list of publications.

Media and Podcasts
  • Property rights versus tenants: Interview with Beata Siemieniako on the restitution of housing in Poland. Podcast episode for “Urban Political” and “appropriate”, 30.11.2023.
  • “Die Ukraine, die Ambivalenzen des Nationalismus und wir.” Essay for Zeitgeschichte-online, 27.11.2023.
  • “Die 'Neue Ostpolitik' - Neubewertung nach dem Angriff auf die Ukraine?”, Redaktionspodcast “Vergangenheitsformen” by H-Soz-Kult, 31.Oktober 2023, available online via H-Soz-Kult.
  • Interview by Prof. Dr. Felix Wemheuer on the book: “Von Solidarność zur Schocktherapie. Wie der Kapitalismus nach Polen kam.” available online via Youtube.

Lectures (selection)

  • Book talks on "Von Solidarność zur Schocktherapie" at the universities of Warsaw, Cologne, Vienna, Tübingen and Heidelberg.
  • "New Borders after the Fall of the Wall: Polish Perspectives on Europe and the West after 1989." Contribution to the 12th European History Forum "When does contemporary history begin? The historical-scientific examination of the 1990s in Eastern and Southeast Europe", Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin, May 22, 2024.
  • "Seit’ an Seit’ und doch getrennt. Die schwierige polnisch-ukrainische Nachbarschaft während des Staatssozialismus." Lecture at the 6th Congress on Polish Studies, Dresden, March 16, 2024.
  • "German-Polish relations in the context of 1989/90 and the reunification of Germany." Statement on the panel "Geopolitics of memory in contemporary German-Polish relations“, University of Cambridge, March 5, 2024.
  • "Conflicts over Privatisation and Restitution of Property in Post-socialist Poland." Lecture in the context of the SFB Annual Conference "Conflicts over Property", Erfurt, October 5, 2023.
  • "Własność prywatna i przedsiębiorczość w komunizmie: Tezy na temat 'firm polonijnych' [Privateigentum und Unternehmertum im Kommunismus: Thesen zu den 'Polonia-Firmen']." Statement within the framework of the workshop "Wyłom w systemie. Firmy polonijne w PRL [Eine Bresche im System.Polonia-Firmen in der Volksrepublik Polen]", Warszawa, March 24/25, 2023.
  • "Remnants of Workers’ Self-management. Employee Ownership and Local Self-government in Poland’s Privatisation." Lecture in the context of the Workshop "Transformations of Property in Post-Socialist Eastern Europe: Reconfigurations of Ownership and Alternatives to Private Property“, Jena, October 20, 2022.
  • "Abgewickelt. Verraten. Für dumm verkauft? Polnische und ostdeutsche Erinnerungen an die postsozialistische Privatisierung als Ressource politischer Polarisierung." Lecture at the 41th congress of the German Sociological Association, Bielefeld, September 29, 2022.


  • BA-Seminar „Migration in modern Polish and East Central European history“ (WiSe 2020/21) (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt/ Oder)
  • MA-Seminar „Rechtsterroristische Attentate der Zwischenkriegszeit in Deutschland und Polen: Rathenau – Narutowicz – Pieracki“ (WiSe 2020/21) (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt/ Oder)
  • BA-Seminar „Age of Transformation: Economic and Social Change in East Central Europe after 1989“ (SoSe 2020) (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt/ Oder)
  • MA-Seminar: „Spearheads of ‚Civil Society‘? Dissent and Opposition in Poland and East Central Europe in the 1970s and 1980s“ (SoSe 2020) (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt/ Oder)
  • Übung mit Exkursion nach Warschau: „Zwischen Krieg und Erinnerung. Warschau im Zweiten Weltkrieg“ (mit Kerstin Bischl, WiSe 2013/14) (HU Berlin)
  • Übung: „Kriegsherrschaft und Erinnerung. Ostpolen unter deutscher und sowjetischer Besatzung 1939-1945“ (mit Christian Meier, SoSe 2011) (HU Berlin)