The majority of the existing work on nationalism has centered on its role in the creation of new states. After Independence breaks new ground by examining the changes to nationalism after independence in seven new states. This innovative volume challenges scholars and specialists to rethink conventional views of ethnic and civic nationalism and the division between primordial and constructivist understandings of national identity.
"Where do nationalists go once they get what they want? We know rather little about how nationalist movements transform themselves into the governments of new states, or how they can become opponents of new regimes that, in their view, have not taken the self-determination drive far enough. This stellar collection contributes not only to comparative theorizing on nationalist movements, but also deepens our understanding of the contentious politics of nationalism's ultimate product--new countries."
--Charles King, Chair of the Faculty and Ion Ratiu Associate Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
"This well-integrated volume analyzes two important variants of nationalism-postcolonial and postcommunist-in a sober, lucid way and will benefit students and scholars alike."
--Zvi Gitelman, University of Michigan
Lowell W. Barrington is Associate Professor of Political Science, Marquette University.
From Czarism and Bolshevism to the current post-communist era, the media in Central Asia has been tightly constrained. Though the governments in the region assert that a free press is permitted to operate, research has shown this to be untrue. In all five former Soviet republics of Central Asia, the media has been controlled, suppressed, punished, and often outlawed. This enlightening collection of essays investigates the reasons why these countries have failed to develop independent and sustainable press systems. It documents the complex relationship between the press and governance, nation-building, national identity, and public policy. In this book, scholars explore the numerous and broad-reaching implications of media control in a variety of contexts, touching on topics such as Internet regulation and censorship, press rights abuses, professional journalism standards and self-censorship, media ownership, ethnic newspapers, blogging, Western broadcasting into the region, and coverage of terrorism.
The end of communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the USSR produced strikingly little enthusiasm in the United States. The political energy absorbed for forty years by American-Soviet relations left America no triumphant, but reflective, turning inward with a general sense of national decline. American politics and policy have met the rapid changes in the new global order with alarming slowness and inflexibility.
In this book, fourteen leading political scientists ask two basic questions. What effect did the cold war have on American institutions and politics? And how will American politics evolve now? The first section of the volume focuses on institutions-the presidency, Congress, federalism. The second explores politics-ideologies, public opinion, and the American party system. The third section tackles important policy areas: the budget, social issues, education, foreign policy, trade, and immigration.
Contributors: Joel D. Aberbach; Tobias Dürr; Andreas Falke; Adrienne Héritier; Peter Lösche; Theodore J. Lowi; Heinz-Dieter Meyer; Demetrios G. Papademetriou; Paul E. Peterson; Bert A. Rockman; James Thurber; David B. Walker; and the editors.
Between Europe and Asia analyzes the origins and development of Eurasianism, an intellectual movement that proclaimed the existence of Eurasia, a separate civilization coinciding with the former Russian Empire. The essays in the volume explore the historical roots, the heyday of the movement in the 1920s, and the afterlife of the movement in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The first study to offer a multifaceted account of Eurasianism in the twentieth century and to touch on the movement's intellectual entanglements with history, politics, literature, or geography, this book also explores Eurasianism's influences beyond Russia.
The Eurasianists blended their search for a primordial essence of Russian culture with radicalism of Europe's interwar period. In reaction to the devastation and dislocation of the wars and revolutions, they celebrated the Orthodox Church and the Asian connections of Russian culture, while rejecting Western individualism and democracy. The movement sought to articulate a non-European, non-Western modernity, and to underscore Russia's role in the colonial world. As the authors demonstrate, Eurasianism was akin to many fascist movements in interwar Europe, and became one of the sources of the rhetoric of nationalist mobilization in Vladimir Putin's Russia. This book presents the rich history of the concept of Eurasianism, and how it developed over time to achieve its present form.
A classic problem of social order prompts the central questions of this book: Why are some groups better able to govern themselves than others? Why do state actors sometimes delegate governing power to other bodies? How do different organizations including the state, the business community, and protection rackets come to govern different markets? Scholars have used both sociological and economic approaches to study these questions; here Timothy Frye argues for a different approach. He seeks to extend the theoretical and empirical scope of theories of self-governance beyond groups that exist in isolation from the state and suggests that social order is primarily a political problem.
Drawing on extensive interviews, surveys, and other sources, Frye addresses these question by studying five markets in contemporary Russia, including the currency futures, universal and specialized commodities, and equities markets. Using a model that depicts the effect of state policy on the prospects for self-governance, he tests theories of institutional performance and offers a political explanation for the creation of social capital, the formation of markets, and the source of legal institutions in the postcommunist world. In doing so, Frye makes a major contribution to the study of states and markets.
The book will be important reading for academic political scientists, economists (especially those who study the New Institutional Economics), legal scholars, sociologists, business-people, journalists, and students interested in transitions.
Timothy Frye is Assistant Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University.
In the summer and fall of 1998, ultranationalist Polish Catholics erected hundreds of crosses outside Auschwitz, setting off a fierce debate that pitted Catholics and Jews against one another. While this controversy had ramifications that extended well beyond Poland’s borders, Geneviève Zubrzycki sees it as a particularly crucial moment in the development of post-Communist Poland’s statehood and its changing relationship to Catholicism.
In The Crosses of Auschwitz, Zubrzycki skillfully demonstrates how this episode crystallized latent social conflicts regarding the significance of Catholicism in defining “Polishness” and the role of anti-Semitism in the construction of a new Polish identity. Since the fall of Communism, the binding that has held Polish identity and Catholicism together has begun to erode, creating unease among ultranationalists. Within their construction of Polish identity also exists pride in the Polish people’s long history of suffering. For the ultranationalists, then, the crosses at Auschwitz were not only symbols of their ethno-Catholic vision, but also an attempt to lay claim to what they perceived was a Jewish monopoly over martyrdom.
This gripping account of the emotional and aesthetic aspects of the scene of the crosses at Auschwitz offers profound insights into what Polishness is today and what it may become.
A powerful exposition of how culture shapes social and political change.
"Transition" is the name typically given to the time of radical change following the fall of communism, connoting a shift from planned to market economy, from dictatorship to democracy. Transition is also, in Michael Kennedy's analysis, a culture in its own right-with its own contentions, repressions, and unrealized potentials. By elaborating transition as a culture of power and viewing it in its complex relation to emancipation, nationalism, and war, Kennedy's book clarifies the transformations of postcommunism as well as, more generally, the ways in which culture articulates social change. This ambitious work is, in effect, a nuanced critical-cultural sociology of change.
Kennedy examines transition culture's historical foundation by looking at the relationship among perestroika, Poland, and Hungary, and considers its structure and practice in the following decade across fields and nations. His wide-ranging analysis-of the artifacts of transition culture's proponents, of interviews with providers and recipients of technical assistance in business across Eastern Europe, and of focus groups assessing the successes and failures of social change in Estonia and Ukraine-suggests a transition culture deeply implicated in nationalism. But this association, Kennedy contends, is not necessarily antithetical to transition's emancipation. By reconsidering transition culture's relationship to the Wars of Yugoslav Succession and communism's negotiated collapse in Poland and Hungary, he shows how transition might be reconceived in terms of solidarity, freedom, and peace.
Distinguished by its focus on culture, not only within particular nations but in the transnational community organized around transition, this book will help reframe the debate about postcommunist social change.
Michael D. Kennedy is vice provost for international affairs, director of the International Institute, and associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan.
Through window displays, newspapers, soap operas, gay bars, and other public culture venues, Chinese citizens are negotiating what it means to be cosmopolitan citizens of the world, with appropriate needs, aspirations, and longings. Lisa Rofel argues that the creation of such “desiring subjects” is at the core of China’s contingent, piece-by-piece reconfiguration of its relationship to a post-socialist world. In a study at once ethnographic, historical, and theoretical, she contends that neoliberal subjectivities are created through the production of various desires—material, sexual, and affective—and that it is largely through their engagements with public culture that people in China are imagining and practicing appropriate desires for the post-Mao era.
Drawing on her research over the past two decades among urban residents and rural migrants in Hangzhou and Beijing, Rofel analyzes the meanings that individuals attach to various public cultural phenomena and what their interpretations say about their understandings of post-socialist China and their roles within it. She locates the first broad-based public debate about post-Mao social changes in the passionate dialogues about the popular 1991 television soap opera Yearnings. She describes how the emergence of gay identities and practices in China reveals connections to a transnational network of lesbians and gay men at the same time that it brings urban/rural and class divisions to the fore. The 1999–2001 negotiations over China’s entry into the World Trade Organization; a controversial women’s museum; the ways that young single women portray their longings in relation to the privations they imagine their mothers experienced; adjudications of the limits of self-interest in court cases related to homoerotic desire, intellectual property, and consumer fraud—Rofel reveals all of these as sites where desiring subjects come into being.
Embedded Politics offers a unique framework for analyzing the impact of past industrial networks on the way postcommunist societies build new institutions to govern the restructuring of their economies. Drawing on a detailed analysis of communist Czechoslovakia and contemporary Czech industries and banks, Gerald A. McDermott argues that restructuring is best advanced through the creation of deliberative or participatory forms of governance that encourages public and private actors to share information and take risks. Further, he contends that institutional and organizational changes are intertwined and that experimental processes are shaped by how governments delegate power to local public and private actors and monitor them.
Using comparative case analysis of several manufacturing sectors, Embedded Politics accounts for change and continuity in the formation of new economic governance institutions in the Czech Republic. It analytically links the macropolitics of state policy with the micropolitics of industrial restructuring. Thus the book advances an alternative approach for the comparative study of institutional change and industrial adjustment.
As a historical and contemporary analysis of Czech firms and public institutions, this book will command the attention of students of postcommunist reforms, privatization, and political-economic transitions in general. But also given its interdisciplinary approach and detailed empirical analysis of policy-making and firm behavior, Embedded Politics is a must read for scholars of politics, economics, sociology, political economy, business organization, and public policy.
Gerald A. McDermott is Assistant Professor of Management in The Wharton School of Management at The University of Pennsylvania. His research applies recent advances in comparative political economy and industrial organization, including theories of social networks, historical institutionalism, and incomplete markets to analyze issues of economic governance, firm creation, and industrial restructuring in advanced and newly industrialized countries. As evidenced by Embedded Politics, his current focus is on problems of institutional and organizational learning in the formation of meso-level governance institutions in emerging market and postsocialist economies.
McDermott also works as Senior Research Fellow at the IAE Escuela de Direccion y Negocios at Universidad Austral in Buenos Aires, and he has served as Project Coordinator at the Inter-American Development Bank. He has consulted for the Finance, Private Sector, and Infrastructure Division at the World Bank and advised the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic. In addition he has published many papers and book chapters on entrepreneurship, privatization, institutions, and networks in Central Europe and Latin America.
The Evolution of Agrarian Institutions studies the unexpectedly slow and uneven growth of private agriculture in postsocialist East-Central Europe. Comparing developments in Hungary and Bulgaria, Mieke Meurs offers an explanation for this slow growth and examines its implications for efficiency and income distribution in postsocialist agriculture.
With the collapse of the state socialist regimes in East-Central Europe, it was widely expected that collectivized agriculture would quickly be remade in the glowing image of China--a patchwork of small, privately run farms yielding rapid increases in output and incomes. However, the European experience has been quite different; while socialist collective farms have disappeared, collective forms of organization have persisted, and private farming has been slow to emerge. Meurs argues that an understanding of the causes of the slow emergence of private farming is essential to effective policy intervention in agriculture. This book contributes to such an understanding through analyzing variations in farm organization and rural market development and comparing agricultural restructuring in Hungary and Bulgaria.
The Evolution of Agrarian Institutions is unique in its combination of original survey data, published data on land use, and published historical data. It also tests two institutionalist explanations for the pace and direction of change in agricultural organization. This book will be of interest to economists, political scientists, sociologists, scholars working in the area of rural development in emerging countries, and anyone with an interest in transitional economics.
Mieke Meurs is Associate Professor of Economics, American University.
Andrei Kozyrev was foreign minister of Russia under President Boris Yeltsin from August 1991 to January 1996. During the August 1991 coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev, he was present when tanks moved in to seize the Russian White House, where Boris Yeltsin famously stood on a tank to address the crowd assembled. He then departed to Paris to muster international support and, if needed, to form a Russian government-in-exile. He participated in the negotiations at Brezhnev’s former hunting lodge in Belazheva, Belarus where the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus agreed to secede from the Soviet Union and form a Commonwealth of Independent States. Kozyrev’s pro-Western orientation made him an increasingly unpopular figure in Russia as Russia’s spiraling economy and the emergence of ultra-wealthy oligarchs soured ordinary Russians on Western ideas of democracy and market capitalism. The Firebird takes the reader into the corridors of power to provide a startling eyewitness account of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the struggle to create a democratic Russia in its place, and how the promise of a better future led to the tragic outcome that changed our world forever.
In 1990 Germany launched an experiment to transplant democracy into a formerly communist country, effectively dismantling the system of the German Democratic Republic and rebuilding it in the likeness of the democratic Federal Republic of Germany. From East Germans to Germans? examines the role of the first generation of democratically elected political elites in the former GDR’s transition to democracy. Although the quick transplant of a ready-made democratic system supported by West German financial backing and expertise provided benefits, problems arose for the development of postcommunist political leadership and for the growth of mass support for the democratic system. Jennifer A. Yoder analyzes the implications of the transition process for democratic legitimation and integration. Based on field research in East Germany that included interviews with parliamentarians, her study addresses issues such as culture, identity, and the lack of continuity between the old and new political elites. Although the availability of West German role models, together with pressure to conform, allowed the process of decommunization to occur much faster than elsewhere in Eastern Europe, the cultural differences between east and west are more extensive and complex than previously assumed. Unification has also been followed by a reinvigoration of regional interests. Yoder shows how some political elites have adopted western German patterns, while others openly criticize many of the practices and policies originating in Bonn and present themselves as democratic alternatives and advocates for East German interests in the new Germany. Indeed, for many East Germans, these new regional elites are regarded as the only representatives of their interests in the western-dominated political system. Providing insight into elite-building at a time of transition and a valuable alternative to the “institutions versus culture” debate found in traditional analyses of political change, this book will interest political scientists and students and scholars of European politics and German studies.
In Havana beyond the Ruins, prominent architects, scholars, and writers based in and outside of Cuba analyze how Havana has been portrayed in literature, music, and the visual arts since Soviet subsidies of Cuba ceased, and the Cuban state has re-imagined Havana as a destination for international tourists and business ventures. Cuba’s capital has experienced little construction since the revolution of 1959; many of its citizens live in poorly maintained colonial and modernist dwellings. It is this Havana—of crumbling houses, old cars, and a romantic aura of ruined hopes—that is marketed in picture books, memorabilia, and films. Meanwhile, Cuba remains a socialist economy, and government agencies maintain significant control of urban development, housing, and employment. Home to more than two million people and a locus of Cuban national identity, Havana today struggles with the some of the same problems as other growing world cities, including slums and escalating social and racial inequalities. Bringing together assessments of the city’s dwellings and urban development projects, Havana beyond the Ruins provides unique insights into issues of memory, citizenship, urban life, and the future of the revolution in Cuba.
Contributors Emma Álvarez-Tabío Albo Eric Felipe-Barkin Anke Birkenmaier Velia Cecilia Bobes Mario Coyula-Cowley Elisabeth Enenbach Sujatha Fernandes Jill Hamberg Patricio del Real Cecelia Lawless Jacqueline Loss Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo Antonio José Ponte Nicolás Quintana Jose Quiroga Laura Redruello Rafael Rojas Joseph L. Scarpaci Esther Whitfield
In The Left Side of History Kristen Ghodsee tells the stories of partisans fighting behind the lines in Nazi-allied Bulgaria during World War II: British officer Frank Thompson, brother of the great historian E.P. Thompson, and fourteen-year-old Elena Lagadinova, the youngest female member of the armed anti-fascist resistance. But these people were not merely anti-fascist; they were pro-communist, idealists moved by their socialist principles to fight and sometimes die for a cause they believed to be right. Victory brought forty years of communist dictatorship followed by unbridled capitalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Today in democratic Eastern Europe there is ever-increasing despair, disenchantment with the post-communist present, and growing nostalgia for the communist past. These phenomena are difficult to understand in the West, where “communism” is a dirty word that is quickly equated with Stalin and Soviet labor camps. By starting with the stories of people like Thompson and Lagadinova, Ghodsee provides a more nuanced understanding of how communist ideals could inspire ordinary people to make extraordinary sacrifices.
Lost in Transition tells of ordinary lives upended by the collapse of communism. Through ethnographic essays and short stories based on her experiences with Eastern Europe between 1989 and 2009, Kristen Ghodsee explains why it is that so many Eastern Europeans are nostalgic for the communist past. Ghodsee uses Bulgaria, the Eastern European nation where she has spent the most time, as a lens for exploring the broader transition from communism to democracy. She locates the growing nostalgia for the communist era in the disastrous, disorienting way that the transition was handled. The privatization process was contested and chaotic. A few well-connected foreigners and a new local class of oligarchs and criminals used the uncertainty of the transition process to take formerly state-owned assets for themselves. Ordinary people inevitably felt that they had been robbed. Many people lost their jobs just as the state social-support system disappeared. Lost in Transition portrays one of the most dramatic upheavals in modern history by describing the ways that it interrupted the rhythms of everyday lives, leaving confusion, frustration, and insecurity in its wake.
In 1989 news broadcasts all over the world were dominated for weeks by images of East Germans crossing the Berlin Wall to West Germany. But what did the East Germans expect to find when they excitedly broke through the Wall? And what did they actually find when they made it over to the other side? This study draws on fifteen months of research into both the lives of East Germans before the fall of communism and their fast-changing world after they embraced capitalism. Grounded in powerful anthropological insights, Milena Veenis argues persuasively that national identifications and the bond between state and citizenry in both East and West Germany over the past twenty years has been shaped by the far-fetched, socialist and capitalist promises of consumption as the road to ultimate well-being. These promises also functioned as a way to cover up the more shameful and dirty aspects of both countries’ history and social life.
Following the so-called “Material Turn” of historiography, this book explores the materialization of identity in urban space—specifically in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Urban spaces played an important role in the formation of national identities in post-socialist successor states across the region, while at the same time the articulation of national identities markedly affected the appearance of these post-socialist cities. Beginning with an overview of socialist and post-socialist cities in recent urban history, contributors trace the post-socialist intertwining of space and identities in case studies that include Astana and Almaty in Kazakhstan, Chișinău and Tiraspol in Moldova, and Skopje in Macedonia, while also linking this phenomenon to socialist urbanism, as in postwar Minsk, Belarus.
Reclaims Marx for today through a fundamental reconsideration of how his works should be read.
Why-and how-does Marx speak to our day? Seeking to reestablish the link between Marx, socialism, and the Left, this book negotiates the common ground between orthodox marxism and postmarxism to show how a reading of Marx elaborates the present. More than a claim about how Marx might be read for relevance, this book is also a forceful statement about how theory relates to political project and organization.
What, Randy Martin asks, does Marx have to say to the discourses of radical democracy, postmodernism, and globalization-all of which purport to solve problems that emerge in Marx's writings? A reading of Marx can in fact disclose the limitations of the contemporary modes of criticism, identifying the difficult conceptual problems that cannot be avoided or overcome.
Using readings of Marx to restage contemporary political discussions, On Your Marx reengages orthodox and postmarxist understandings in a critical and constructive conversation. In doing so, the book points to powerful new alliances between cultural and political theorists and activists, opening new possibilities for mobilization and social justice.
Randy Martin is associate dean of faculty and interdisciplinary programs and professor of art and public policy at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He is also the coeditor of the journal Social Text.
Paul Kubicek offers a comparative study of organized labor's fate in four postcommunist countries, and examines the political and economic consequences of labor's weakness. He notes that with few exceptions, trade unions have lost members and suffered from low public confidence. Unions have failed to act while changing economic policies have resulted in declining living standards and unemployment for their membership.
While some of labor's problems can be traced to legacies of the communist period, Kubicek draws upon the experience of unions in the West to argue that privatization and nascent globalization are creating new economic structures and a political playing field hostile to organized labor. He concludes that labor is likely to remain a marginalized economic and political force for the foreseeable.
A surprising look at the causes of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
How is it that Czechoslovakia's separation into two countries in 1993 was accomplished so peacefully--especially when compared with the experiences of its neighbors Russia and Yugoslavia? This book provides a sociological answer to this question--and an empirical explanation for the breakup of Czechoslovakia--by tracing the political processes begun in the Prague Spring of 1968.
Gil Eyal's main argument is that Czechoslovakia's breakup was caused by a struggle between two factions of what sociologists call "the new class," which consisted primarily of intellectuals and technocrats. Focusing on the process of polarization that created these two factions--and two distinct political elites--Eyal shows how in response to the events of the ill-fated Prague Spring Czech and Slovak members of the new class embarked on divergent paths and developed radically different, even opposed, identities, worldviews, and interests. Unlike most accounts of postcommunist nationalist conflict, this book suggests that what bound together each of these factions-and what differentiated each from the other--were not national identities and nationalist sentiments per se, but their distinctive visions of the social role of intellectuals.
Gil Eyal is associate professor of sociology at Columbia University.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the countries of East-Central Europe embarked on a journey to transform themselves into democratic capitalist societies. Their governments searched for strategies that would allow them to pursue radical market reforms within the context of nascent democratic politics. Poland adopted a neoliberal strategy that attempted to push through as much reform as possible before an antireform backlash could occur. In the Czech Republic, a social liberal strategy for transformation attempted to combine neoliberal macro-economic policies with social democratic measures designed to avert such a backlash.
A detailed analysis of Poland and the Czech Republic suggests that alternation between strategies has been the secret to the success of East-Central European countries.
This comparative case analysis identifies the significance of reform mistakes during transition and the corrective benefits of policy alternation, its claims illustrated with an in-depth study of privatization policy in the two countries.
Mitchell A. Orenstein delves into the historic struggle to build capitalism and democracy during a decade of post- communist transition in East-Central Europe and develops a model that explains why democratic policy alternation may accelerate policy learning under conditions of uncertainty and constraint.
Out of the Red is accessible to a general audience and as such is suitable for both graduate and undergraduate courses on political economy. It will be of particular interest to economists, political scientists, sociologists, students of postcommunism, and anyone interested in the relations between capitalism and democracy in the contemporary world.
Mitchell A. Orenstein is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Syracuse University.
“State weakness” is seen to be a widespread problem throughout Central Asia and other parts of postsocialist space, and more broadly in areas of the developing world. Challenging the widespread assumption that these “weak states” inevitably slide toward failure, Paradox of Power takes careful stock of the varied experiences of Eurasian states to reveal a wide array of surprising outcomes. The case studies show how states teeter but do not collapse, provide public goods against all odds, interact with societies in creative ways, utilize coercion effectively against internal opponents, and establish practices that are far more durable than the language of “weakness” would allow. While deepening our understanding of the phenomenon in Eurasia in particular, the essays also contribute to more general theories of state weakness.
In the early 1990s, scholars voiced skepticism about the capacity of Eastern Europe's new democracies to manage simultaneous political and economic reform. They argued that the surge of popular participation following democratization would thwart efforts by successor governments to enact market reforms that imposed high costs on major elements of post-Communist society. David Bartlett challenges the conventional wisdom regarding the hazards of "dual transformations": far from hindering marketization, democratization facilitated it. Bartlett argues that the transition to democracy in East Central Europe lowered the political barriers to market reforms by weakening the ability of actors most vulnerable to marketization to manipulate the existing institutional structure to stop or slow down the process.
Although the analysis focuses on Hungary, whose long history of market reforms makes it an ideal vehicle for assessing the impact of institutional change on reform policy, the author shows how his findings call into question the use of "shock therapy" and arguments, based on the experience in East Asia, that economic development and democratization are incompatible.
This book will appeal to economists, political scientists, and others interested in transition problems in formerly communist countries, democratic transitions, and the politics of stabilization and adjustment.
David L. Bartlett is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University.
In Politics without a Past Shari J. Cohen offers a powerful challenge to common characterizations of postcommunist politics as either a resurgence of aggressive nationalism or an evolution toward Western-style democracy. Cohen draws upon extensive field research to paint a picture of postcommunist political life in which ideological labels are meaningless and exchangeable at will, political parties appear and disappear regularly, and citizens remain unengaged in the political process. In contrast to the conventional wisdom, which locates the roots of widespread intranational strife in deeply rooted national identities from the past, Cohen argues that a profound ideological vacuum has fueled destructive tension throughout postcommunist Europe and the former Soviet Union. She uses Slovakia as a case study to reveal that communist regimes bequeathed an insidious form of historical amnesia to the majority of the political elite and the societies they govern. Slovakia was particularly vulnerable to communist intervention since its precommunist national consciousness was so weak and its only period of statehood prior to 1993 was as a Nazi puppet-state. To demonstrate her argument, Cohen focuses on Slovakia’s failure to forge a collective memory of the World War II experience. She shows how communist socialization prevented Slovaks from tying their individual family stories—of the Jewish deportations, of the anti-Nazi resistance, or of serving in the wartime government—to a larger historical narrative shared with others, leaving them bereft of historical or moral bearings. Politics without a Past develops an analytical framework that will be important for future research in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and beyond. Scholars in political science, history, East European and post-Soviet studies will find Cohen’s methodology and conclusions enlightening. For policymakers, diplomats, and journalists who deal with the region, she offers valuable insights into the elusive nature of postcommunist societies.
Central Asia has long stood at the crossroads of history. It was the staging ground for the armies of the Mongol Empire, for the nineteenth-century struggle between the Russian and British empires, and for the NATO campaign in Afghanistan. Today, multinationals and nations compete for the oil and gas reserves of the Caspian Sea and for control of the pipelines. Yet “Stanland” is still, to many, a terra incognita, a geographical blank.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, academic and journalist David Mould’s career took him to the region on Fulbright Fellowships and contracts as a media trainer and consultant for UNESCO and USAID, among others. In Postcards from Stanland, he takes readers along with him on his encounters with the people, landscapes, and customs of the diverse countries—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—he came to love. He talks with teachers, students, politicians, environmental activists, bloggers, cab drivers, merchants, Peace Corps volunteers, and more.
Until now, few books for a nonspecialist readership have been written on the region, and while Mould brings his own considerable expertise to bear on his account—for example, he is one of the few scholars to have conducted research on post-Soviet media in the region—the book is above all a tapestry of place and a valuable contribution to our understanding of the post-Soviet world.
In Postsocialism and Cultural Politics, Xudong Zhang offers a critical analysis of China’s “long 1990s,” the tumultuous years between the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. The 1990s were marked by Deng Xiaoping’s market-oriented reforms, the Taiwan missile crisis, the Asian financial crisis, and the end of British colonial rule of Hong Kong. Considering developments including the state’s cultivation of a market economy, the aggressive neoliberalism that accompanied that effort, the rise of a middle class and a consumer culture, and China’s entry into the world economy, Zhang argues that Chinese socialism is not over. Rather it survives as postsocialism, which is articulated through the discourses of postmodernism and nationalism and through the co-existence of multiple modes of production and socio-cultural norms. Highlighting China’s uniqueness, as well as the implications of its recent experiences for the wider world, Zhang suggests that Chinese postsocialism illuminates previously obscure aspects of the global shift from modernity to postmodernity.
Zhang examines the reactions of intellectuals, authors, and filmmakers to the cultural and political conflicts in China during the 1990s. He offers a nuanced assessment of the changing divisions and allegiances within the intellectual landscape, and he analyzes the postsocialist realism of the era through readings of Mo Yan’s fiction and the films of Zhang Yimou. With Postsocialism and Cultural Politics, Zhang applies the same keen insight to China’s long 1990s that he brought to bear on the 1980s in Chinese Modernism in the Era of Reforms.
Poland is the only country in which popular protest and mass opposition, epitomized by the Solidarity movement, played a significant role in bringing down the communist regime. This book, the first comprehensive study of the politics of protest in postcommunist Central Europe, shows that organized protests not only continued under the new regime but also had a powerful impact on Poland's democratic consolidation.
Following the collapse of communism in 1989, the countries of Eastern Europe embarked on the gargantuan project of restructuring their social, political, economic, and cultural institutions. The social cost of these transformations was high, and citizens expressed their discontent in various ways. Protest actions became common events, particularly in Poland. In order to explain why protest in Poland was so intense and so particularized, Grzegorz Ekiert and Jan Kubik place the situation within a broad political, economic, and social context and test it against major theories of protest politics. They conclude that in transitional polities where conventional political institutions such as parties or interest groups are underdeveloped, organized collective protest becomes a legitimate and moderately effective strategy for conducting state-society dialogue. The authors offer an original and rich description of protest movements in Poland after the fall of communism as a basis for developing and testing their ideas. They highlight the organized and moderate character of the protests and argue that the protests were not intended to reverse the change of 1989 but to protest specific policies of the government.
This book contributes to the literature on democratic consolidation, on the institutionalization of state-society relationship, and on protest and social movements. It will be of interest to political scientists, sociologists, historians, and policy advisors.
Grzegorz Ekiert is Professor of Government, Harvard University. Jan Kubik is Associate Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University.
In Red Hangover Kristen Ghodsee examines the legacies of twentieth-century communism twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall fell. Ghodsee's essays and short stories reflect on the lived experience of postsocialism and how many ordinary men and women across Eastern Europe suffered from the massive social and economic upheavals in their lives after 1989. Ghodsee shows how recent major crises—from the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Syrian Civil War to the rise of Islamic State and the influx of migrants in Europe—are linked to mistakes made after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc when fantasies about the triumph of free markets and liberal democracy blinded Western leaders to the human costs of "regime change." Just as the communist ideal has become permanently tainted by its association with the worst excesses of twentieth-century Eastern European regimes, today the democratic ideal is increasingly sullied by its links to the ravages of neoliberalism. An accessible introduction to the history of European state socialism and postcommunism, Red Hangover reveals how the events of 1989 continue to shape the world today.
This compelling ethnography of women working in Bulgaria’s popular sea and ski resorts challenges the idea that women have consistently fared worse than men in Eastern Europe’s transition from socialism to a market economy. For decades western European tourists have flocked to Bulgaria’s beautiful beaches and mountains; tourism is today one of the few successful—and expanding—sectors of the country’s economy. Even at the highest levels of management, employment in the tourism industry has long been dominated by women. Kristen Ghodsee explains why this is and how women working in the industry have successfully negotiated their way through Bulgaria’s capitalist transformation while the fortunes of most of the population have plummeted. She highlights how, prior to 1989, the communist planners sought to create full employment for all at the same time that they steered women into the service sector. The women given jobs in tourism obtained higher educations, foreign language skills, and experiences working with Westerners, all of which positioned them to take advantage of the institutional changes eventually brought about by privatization.
Interspersed throughout The Red Riviera are vivid examinations of the lives of Bulgarian women, including a waitress, a tour operator, a chef, a maid, a receptionist, and a travel agent. Through these women’s stories, Ghodsee describes their employment prior to 1989 and after. She considers the postsocialist forces that have shaped the tourist industry over the past fifteen years: the emergence of a new democratic state, the small but increasing interest of foreign investors and transnational corporations, and the proliferation of ngos. Ghodsee suggests that many of the ngos, by insisting that Bulgarian women are necessarily disenfranchised, ignore their significant professional successes.
In The Reincarnation of Russia, John Löwenhardt presents the first in-depth analysis of the initial and crucial stages of Russia’s new statehood. He examines Russia’s recent turbulent history—beginning with the explosive Declaration of State Sovereignty in June 1990, through the adoption of the Yeltsin constitution in the elections of December 1993 and concluding with the early months of 1994. His analysis of Russia’s struggle with the vestige of Soviet Communism and the attempt to create a more democratic form of government offers crucial insight into one of the critical turning points in contemporary history. Building on analysis of the failure of the Soviet system, Löwenhardt compares the emergence of Russia as a newborn state with other countries that have undergone transitions from authoritarianism toward democracy. Although it is often claimed that Russia is a unique case, the author argues that the lessons of other nations are relevant to the Russian situation. In conjunction with this comparative analysis and with consideration of the significance of the communist and Russian past, Löwenhardt discusses political and economic developments—including both foreign and domestic policy concerns—in Russia over the last four years. He provides a better understanding of the Russian condition and a guarded optimism regarding the ongoing process taking place in Russia today. The Reincarnation of Russia will be welcomed by scholars with specialized interests in the democratization of Russia, political leaders, journalists, and general readers concerned with the global impact of Russia’s changing status.
The final destination of the Long March and center of the Chinese Communist Party's red bases, Yan'an acquired mythical status during the Maoist era. Though the city's significance as an emblem of revolutionary heroism has faded, today's Chinese still glorify Yan'an as a sanctuary for ancient cultural traditions. Ka-ming Wu's ethnographic account of contemporary Yan'an documents how people have reworked the revival of three rural practices--paper-cutting, folk storytelling, and spirit cults--within (and beyond) the socialist legacy. Moving beyond dominant views of Yan'an folk culture as a tool of revolution or object of market reform, Wu reveals how cultural traditions become battlegrounds where conflicts among the state, market forces, and intellectuals in search of an authentic China play out. At the same time, she shows these emerging new dynamics in the light of the ways rural residents make sense of rapid social change. Alive with details, Reinventing Chinese Tradition is an in-depth, eye-opening study of an evolving culture and society within contemporary China.
Marxism was the loser in the Cold War, but Oleg Kharkhordin is not surprised that liberal democracy failed to take root after the Soviet Union’s dissolution. He suggests that Russians find a path to freedom by looking to the classical tradition of republican self-government and civic engagement already familiar from their history and literature.
As a nation makes the transition from communism to democracy or another form of authoritarianism, its regime must construct not only new political institutions, but also a new political ideology that can guide policy and provide a sense of mission. The new ideology is crucial for legitimacy at home and abroad, as well as the regime’s long-term viability. In The Return of Ideology, Cheng Chen compares post-communist regimes, with a focus on Russia under Putin and post-Deng China, investigating the factors that affect the success of an ideology-building project and identifies the implications for international affairs.
Successful ideology-building requires two necessary—but not sufficient—conditions. The regime must establish a coherent ideological repertoire that takes into account the nation’s ideological heritage and fresh surges of nationalism. Also, the regime must attract and maintain a strong commitment to the emerging ideology among the political elite.
Drawing on rich primary sources, including interviews, surveys, political speeches, writings of political leaders, and a variety of publications, Chen identifies the major obstacles to ideology-building in modern Russia and China and assesses their respective long-term prospects. Whereas creating a new regime ideology has been a protracted and difficult process in China, it has been even more so in Russia. The ability to forge an ideology is not merely a domestic concern for these two nations, but a matter of international import as these two great powers move to assert and extend their influence in the world.
Official corruption has become increasingly prevalent around the world since the early 1990s. The situation appears to be particularly acute in the post-communist states. Corruption—be it real or perceived—is a major problem with concrete implications, including a lowered likelihood of foreign investment. In Rotten States? Leslie Holmes analyzes corruption in post-communist countries, paying particular attention to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, as well as China, which Holmes argues has produced, through its recent economic liberalization, a system similar to post-communism. As he points out, these countries offer useful comparisons: they vary in terms of size, religious orientation, ethnic homogeneity, and their approaches to and economic success with the transition from communism.
Drawing on data including surveys commissioned especially for this study, Holmes examines the causes and consequences of official corruption as well as ways of combating it. He focuses particular attention on the timing of the recent increase in reports of corruption, the relationship between post-communism and corruption, and the interplay between corruption and the delegitimation and weakening of the state. Holmes argues that the global turn toward neoliberalism—with its focus on ends over means, flexibility, and a reduced role for the state—has generated much of the corruption in post-communist states. At the same time, he points out that neoliberalism is perhaps the single most powerful tool for overcoming the communist legacy, which is an even more significant cause of corruption. Among the conclusions that Holmes draws is that a strong democratic state is needed in the early stages of the transition from communism in order to prevent corruption from taking hold.
In 1989 and 1990, Eastern European Communist regimes and opposition groups conducted a series of roundtable talks to peacefully negotiate the abolition of authoritarian rule and the transition to democratic governance. This volume documents that unprecedented process of national reinvention and constitution making.
These essays capture the historical circumstances of these countries—their traditions, customs, and the balance of influence between competing factions—that often took precedence over constitutional ideals. In five country-specific reports, senior scholars provide detailed accounts of the talks in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic Republic. Also included is an essay on the political factors underlying the failure of negotiations between reform groups and the Chinese regime, providing an illuminating counterpoint to the path taken in Eastern Europe.
This book is an invaluable resource for scholars of constitutional design and democratization and for specialists in Eastern Europe.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia witnessed a dramatic increase in psychotherapeutic options, which promoted social connection while advancing new forms of capitalist subjectivity amid often-wrenching social and economic transformations. In Shock Therapy Tomas Matza provides an ethnography of post-Soviet Saint Petersburg, following psychotherapists, psychologists, and their clients as they navigate the challenges of post-Soviet life. Juxtaposing personal growth and success seminars for elites with crisis counseling and remedial interventions for those on public assistance, Matza shows how profound inequalities are emerging in contemporary Russia in increasingly intimate ways as matters of selfhood. Extending anthropologies of neoliberalism and care in new directions, Matza offers a profound meditation on the interplay between ethics, therapy, and biopolitics, as well as a sensitive portrait of everyday caring practices in the face of the confounding promise of postsocialist democracy.
Laura L. Adams offers unique insight into nation building in Central Asia during the post-Soviet era through an exploration of Uzbekistan’s production of national culture in the 1990s. As she explains, after independence the Uzbek government maintained a monopoly over ideology, exploiting the remaining Soviet institutional and cultural legacies. The state expressed national identity through tightly controlled mass spectacles, including theatrical and musical performances. Adams focuses on these events, particularly the massive outdoor concerts the government staged on the two biggest national holidays, Navro’z, the spring equinox celebration, and Independence Day. Her analysis of the content, form, and production of these ceremonies shows how Uzbekistan’s cultural and political elites engaged in a highly directed, largely successful program of nation building through culture.
Adams draws on her observations and interviews conducted with artists, intellectuals, and bureaucrats involved in the production of Uzbekistan’s national culture. These elites used globalized cultural forms such as Olympics-style spectacle to showcase local, national, and international aspects of official culture. While these state-sponsored extravaganzas were intended to be displays of Uzbekistan’s ethnic and civic national identity, Adams found that cultural renewal in the decade after Uzbekistan’s independence was not so much a rejection of Soviet power as it was a re-appropriation of Soviet methods of control and ideas about culture. The public sphere became more restricted than it had been in Soviet times, even as Soviet-era ideas about ethnic and national identity paved the way for Uzbekistan to join a more open global community.
Poland in the 1980s was filled with shuttered restaurants and shops that bore such imaginative names as “bread,” “shoes,” and “milk products,” from which lines could stretch for days on the mere rumor there was something worth buying. But you’d be hard-pressed to recognize the same squares—buzzing with bars and cafés—today. In the years since the collapse of communism, Poland’s GDP has almost tripled, making it the eighth-largest economy in the European Union, with a wealth of well-educated and highly skilled workers and a buoyant private sector that competes in international markets. Many consider it one of the only European countries to have truly weathered the financial crisis.
As the Warsaw bureau chief for the Financial Times, Jan Cienski spent more than a decade talking with the people who did something that had never been done before: recreating a market economy out of a socialist one. Poland had always lagged behind wealthier Western Europe, but in the 1980s the gap had grown to its widest in centuries. But the corrupt Polish version of communism also created the conditions for its eventual revitalization, bringing forth a remarkably resilient and entrepreneurial people prepared to brave red tape and limited access to capital. In the 1990s, more than a million Polish people opened their own businesses, selling everything from bicycles to leather jackets, Japanese VCRs, and romance novels. The most business-savvy turned those primitive operations into complex corporations that now have global reach.
Well researched and accessibly and entertainingly written, Start-Up Poland tells the story of the opening bell in the East, painting lively portraits of the men and women who built successful businesses there, what their lives were like, and what they did to catapult their ideas to incredible success. At a time when Poland’s new right-wing government plays on past grievances and forms part of the populist and nationalist revolution sweeping the Western world, Cienski’s book also serves as a reminder that the past century has been the most successful in Poland’s history.
Based on the case of Kyrgyzstan, while going well beyond it to elaborate a theory of the developing state that comprehends corruption as not merely criminal, but a type of market based on highly rational decisions made by the powerful individuals within, or connected to, the state.
The state has recently been rediscovered as an object of inquiry by a broad range of scholars. Reflecting the new vitality of the field of political anthropology, States of Imagination draws together the best of this recent critical thinking to explore the postcolonial state. Contributors focus on a variety of locations from Guatemala, Pakistan, and Peru to India and Ecuador; they study what the state looks like to those seeing it from the vantage points of rural schools, police departments, small villages, and the inside of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Focusing on the micropolitics of everyday state-making, the contributors examine the mythologies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies of the state through ethnographies of diverse postcolonial practices. They show how the authority of the state is constantly challenged from the local as well as the global and how growing demands to confer rights and recognition to ever more citizens, organizations, and institutions reveal a persistent myth of the state as a source of social order and an embodiment of popular sovereignty. Demonstrating the indispensable value of ethnographic work on the practices and the symbols of the state, States of Imagination showcases a range of studies and methods to provide insight into the diverse forms of the postcolonial state as an arena of both political and cultural struggle. This collection will interest students and scholars of anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, political science, and history.
Contributors. Lars Buur, Mitchell Dean, Akhil Gupta, Thomas Blom Hansen, Steffen Jensen, Aletta J. Norval, David Nugent, Sarah Radcliffe, Rachel Sieder, Finn Stepputat, Martijn van Beek, Oskar Verkaaik, Fiona Wilson
Focusing on the steel industry during the post-communist transition from 1989 through 2009, Aleksandra Sznajder Lee traces the transformation of flagship state enterprises in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia into the subsidiaries of large, international corporations. By analyzing this transformation at the three levels of enterprise, sector, and national-international nexus, she identifies the players—from international investors and European Union members to national labor unions and local industry managers—in the political economy of reform. Even in the midst of the transition to a capitalist, democratic system, Sznajder Lee finds, the state plays a key role in mediating between domestic vested interests and external pressures from international financial markets and institutions, on the one hand, and regional institutions on the other. Whereas state power may be employed to require domestic firms to operate as capitalists in the international market, it may also be used to shield enterprises from market pressures in order to promote the political and personal preferences of the elite.
This book has broad implications for the political economy of reform because it illuminates the political determinants of privatization and the resources used to resist it. In addition, Sznajder Lee sheds new light on why some countries are more likely than others to be subject to external constraints, such as IMF conditionality, and how some allegedly pro-market reformers manage to maintain public ownership over certain industry sectors.
Unbroken Ties examines the relationship between the state and economic interest groups representing labor, capital, and agriculture in Ukraine. The author argues that the absence of "civil society" helps to explain why, in Ukraine, the much-anticipated transition to democracy and the market has not yet been achieved.
Since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, there has been a spate of books--optimistic at first--highlighting the transitions to democracy in these countries and the leading role of "civil society" in pushing forward political and economic reform. This study explains why this transition did not take place as anticipated. In essence, organized labor in Ukraine is weak and has been co-opted by the state; in the meantime, leading groups of industrialists and agricultural collectives have strong political influence and shape policies in accordance with their interests. This is very similar to the situation in Russia.
In contrast to works that implicitly assume a pluralist model of development for state-society relations, Unbroken Ties employs corporatism as the basic organizing structure for the study of state-interest group relations in post-Soviet Ukraine. Finding that much of the Soviet "residue" still functions in Ukraine, it argues that a form of state corporatism, which envisions a major role for the state in structuring and controlling interest associations, captures much of the post-Soviet Ukrainian reality. Old groups persist and prosper due to a variety of ties with state elites, whereas new and independent groups find themselves marginalized.
This book will appeal to political scientists, economists, and sociologists studying the transformation of post-communist societies, as well as those interested in the broader, more comparative aspects of democratization and economic reform.
Paul Kubicek is Kenneth Boulding Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Colorado, Boulder.
Winner of the 2014 Central Eurasian Studies Society Book Award in the Social Sciences.
Under Solomon’s Throne provides a rare ground-level analysis of post-Soviet Central Asia’s social and political paradoxes by focusing on an urban ethnic community: the Uzbeks in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, who have maintained visions of societal renewal throughout economic upheaval, political discrimination, and massive violence.
Morgan Liu illuminates many of the challenges facing Central Asia today by unpacking the predicament of Osh, a city whose experience captures key political and cultural issues of the region as a whole. Situated on the border of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan—newly independent republics that have followed increasingly divergent paths to reform their states and economies—the city is subject to a Kyrgyz government, but the majority of its population are ethnic Uzbeks. Conflict between the two groups led to riots in 1990, and again in 2010, when thousands, mostly ethnic Uzbeks, were killed and nearly half a million more fled across the border into Uzbekistan. While these tragic outbreaks of violence highlight communal tensions amid long-term uncertainty, a close examination of community life in the two decades between reveals the way Osh Uzbeks have created a sense of stability and belonging for themselves while occupying a postcolonial no-man’s-land, tied to two nation-states but not fully accepted by either one.
The first ethnographic monograph based on extensive local-language fieldwork in a Central Asian city, this study examines the culturally specific ways that Osh Uzbeks are making sense of their post-Soviet dilemmas. These practices reveal deep connections with Soviet and Islamic sensibilities and with everyday acts of dwelling in urban neighborhoods. Osh Uzbeks engage the spaces of their city to shape their orientations relative to the wider world, postsocialist transformations, Islamic piety, moral personhood, and effective leadership. Living in the shadow of Solomon’s Throne, the city’s central mountain, they envision and attempt to build a just social order.
In What Does It Mean to Be Post-Soviet? Madina Tlostanova traces how contemporary post-Soviet art mediates this human condition. Observing how the concept of the happy future—which was at the core of the project of Soviet modernity—has lapsed from the post-Soviet imagination, Tlostanova shows how the possible way out of such a sense of futurelessness lies in the engagement with activist art. She interviews artists, art collectives, and writers such as Estonian artist Liina Siib, Uzbek artist Vyacheslav Akhunov, and Azerbaijani writer Afanassy Mamedov who frame the post-Soviet condition through the experience and expression of community, space, temporality, gender, and negotiating the demands of the state and the market. In foregrounding the unfolding aesthesis and activism in the post-Soviet space, Tlostanova emphasizes the important role that decolonial art plays in providing the foundation upon which to build new modes of thought and a decolonial future.