Dr. Peter Wegenschimmel
Associated Researcher

Dr. Peter Wegenschimmel
Associated Researcher

Peter Wegenschimmel works as a research associate at the Institute for Eastern European History at the University of Vienna and is an associate member of the Research Center for the History of Transformations. He graduated in applied sociology and social anthropology from the University of Warsaw with a scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. Between 2016 and 2019 he worked as a research associate in the research cluster “Practices and Relations of Labor in Change” at the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies. From 2017 to 2019 he was an associate member of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies. He has received fellowships from the German Historical Institute Warsaw and the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is currently a fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia, with the project “Lost in Transition: Social Sciences, Scenarios of Transformation, and Cognitive Dissonances in East Central Europe after 1989.” In 2020 his PhD thesis “Non-Profit Industry: The Liquidation of East Central European Shipyards” was awarded the Business History Award by the German Business History Society (GUG).

Research interests:

Labor relations, Business history, History of technology, Transport history 

Current research project:

Trucking Europe: The Triple Transformation of European Freight Companies since the 1980s.

In the 1990s, Central and European freight forwarders increasingly replaced the old heroes of socialist labor from heavy industry. Despite the legacy of a rudimentary road infrastructure and a modal split inclined towards railroad transport, freight forwarders in Central and Eastern European countries have been subject to high volatility under the conditions of marketization. Small companies have emerged from the green field and developed into European champions in the transport sector. By multiplying perspectives, an entangled history of Central and East European road haulage reveals the decisive factors that explain the surprising rise of these companies: the gradual opening of the European common market and the simultaneous liberalization of the European transport industry. The project focuses on the interdependencies between three kinds of transformations that began in the 1980s: democratic, neoliberal, and logistical transformations. Selected freight forwarding companies from the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, and the People’s Republic of Poland and their strategies vis-à-vis European integration are analyzed. Due to the key role played by freight forwarding companies in the transnationalization of national economies, as well as the interdependencies in the trajectories of the selected companies, Central European road haulage offers a classic arena through which to trace a transnational historiography of the long and complex economic transformation of Central and Eastern Europe.

Recent publications:

“Regionale Wurzeln des Betriebs: Eine Bodenprobe aus dem kommunalen Umfeld der Werften Gdynia und Uljanik,” in: Walter M. Iber/Thomas Krautzer (Ed.): Wirtschaft und Region, Münster 2021, pp. 201–231.

(with Hodges, A.) “The Embeddedness of ‘Public’ Enterprises: the Case of the Gdynia (Poland) and Uljanik (Croatia) Shipyards,” in: Business History, 2020, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2020.1796975.

(with Kolasińska, E. & Polkowska, D.) “Środowisko pracy i role socjologów zakładowych oraz ich doświadczenia zawodowe,” in: Przegląd Socjologiczny, 2019, 68/3, pp. 43–69.