Thinking Through Transition: Liberal Democracy, Authoritarian Pasts, and Intellectual History in East Central Europe After 1989

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9789633860854: Thinking Through Transition: Liberal Democracy, Authoritarian Pasts, and Intellectual History in East Central Europe After 1989
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'It is not easy for historians to apply their methods to a period that does not yet have a clear end' is the first sentence in this book, revealing the challenge that a new generation of scholars took at writing an intellectual history of post-communist East Central Europe. Post-communism can be understood both as a period of scarcity and preponderance of ideas. It is the dramatic eclipsing of the dissident legacy-as well as the older political traditions-and the rise of technocratic and post-political governance. Eighteen essays by authors from the region discuss how major domains of political thought (liberalism, conservatism, the Left, populism and memory politics) have been fairing in their countries. The studies, grounded in empirical research sensitive to local contexts, detail a history of adaptations, entanglements, and unintended consequences.

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About the Author:

Michal Kopecek is Head of the Department of Late- and Post-Socialism Studies at the Institute for Contemporary History, Prague, and Assistant Professor of Czech and Central European History at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague Piotr Wcislik is PhD candidate at the Central European University, Budapest, affiliated with the Digital Humanities Center at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw

Review:

It is impossible, after reading this volume, to still give any credit to those who claimed that 1989 was a revolution without ideas or could not be a revolution because it offered no ideas. We should be grateful that a new generation of scholars most of whom not burdened by the assumptions and affinities that have inhibited participants and contemporary observers can look with a cool eye both at the thinking that accompanied radical change and at the sometimes bizarre amalgams that have furnished political language in the last quarter-century in East Central Europe. --Padraic Kenney, Professor of History and International Studies Indiana University and Vice President of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

This is the most comprehensive and balanced intellectual history so far available of post-Communist East Central Europe, and it is particularly instructive on the diversity of the field. The book is essential reading for those who want to know how the multiple transformations of the region were understood from within. --Johann P. Arnason, Professor Emeritus of Sociology La Trobe University, Melbourne

The major contribution of this volume is that, beyond the well-trodden and largely exhausted path of 'transitology' it offers a rather different approach to the understanding of the Great Transformation of the last quarter of a century: the remapping of the political landscape of East-Central Europe through an intellectual history of the post-1989 era. --Jacques Rupnik, Director of Research at the Center for International Studies and Research (CERI) Sciences Po in Paris and Professor at College of Europe Bruges, Belgium

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Michal Kopecek; Piotr Wcislik
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