By Michael D. Kennedy
"Transition" is the identify mostly given to the time of radical swap following the autumn of communism, connoting a shift from deliberate to marketplace economic system, from dictatorship to democracy. Transition is additionally, in Michael Kennedy's research, a tradition in its personal right-with its personal contentions, repressions, and unrealized potentials. through elaborating transition as a tradition of energy and viewing it in its complicated relation to emancipation, nationalism, and warfare, Kennedy's ebook clarifies the variations of postcommunism in addition to, extra ordinarily, the ways that tradition articulates social swap. This bold paintings is, in influence, a nuanced critical-cultural sociology of swap. Kennedy examines transition culture's historic starting place by means of the connection between perestroika, Poland, and Hungary, and considers its constitution and perform within the following decade throughout fields and countries. His wide-ranging analysis-of the artifacts of transition culture's proponents, of interviews with services and recipients of technical assistance in company throughout jap Europe, and of concentration teams assessing the successes and screw ups of social swap in Estonia and Ukraine-suggests a transition tradition deeply implicated in nationalism. yet this organization, Kennedy contends, isn't unavoidably antithetical to transition's emancipation. through reconsidering transition culture's courting to the Wars of Yugoslav Succession and communism's negotiated cave in in Poland and Hungary, he indicates how transition will be reconceived when it comes to cohesion, freedom, and peace. wonderful through its specialise in tradition, not just inside specific international locations yet within the transnational group geared up round transition, this e-book can help reframe the controversy approximately postcommunist social swap. Michael D. Kennedy is vice provost for overseas affairs, director of the overseas Institute, and affiliate professor of sociology on the collage of Michigan.
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Extra resources for Cultural Formations of Postcommunism: Emancipation, Transition, Nation, and War
For marxists, the novelty of postcommunist social transformation Introduction 23 is less clear. 51 These cross-systemic comparisons are not central to the transition debate. Also, a marxist perspective is more likely to emphasize the commonalities in impoverishment and a weakening base for labor’s mobilization across capitalisms in order to highlight the systemic distinction of capitalism itself. 52 Above all, however, most marxist accounts of postcommunist social change redirect our attention to other agents of change.
With those contexts in mind, we sought the rationale for their comparison. Contiguous comparisons are often the most sensible, and familiar, for identifying critical differences in otherwise broadly similar cases. We instead developed a project that focused on one critical similarity—transition from Soviet rule—and sought other forms of similarity across radically dissimilar sites. To what extent would the identity project and social problems articulated in the smallest and most successful (from the point of view of transition culture) post-Soviet state, Estonia, be similar to the secondlargest, and economically troubled, Ukraine?
But it is misleading to present them as wholly exogenous to the postcommunist world, or as wholly misguided in shaping history. Medical and religious missions are powerful narratives with which to restructure societies in need of radical change. As the representatives of transition culture are wont to say, those who have followed the prescription of the radicals in transition culture are those who have fared best in making their worlds better. And those who make this case best are not only from the West, but are those who know how to speak both the languages of the nation and of transition culture.
Cultural Formations of Postcommunism: Emancipation, Transition, Nation, and War by Michael D. Kennedy