The majority of studies of post-communism - habitually grouped under the heading of 'transitology' - understand the transition ultimately as a political and cultural convergence of the ex-communist societies with Western Europe. Even those critical approaches that regard the post-communist transition as a relatively unique phenomenon (as in the approaches of path dependency and neo-classical sociology) tend to conflate normative prescriptions with empirical descriptions and to move within an overall framework of what Michael Kennedy has aptly called 'transition culture'. This article argues instead that the transition's nature can only be fully grasped if a case-specific and historical-contextual approach is taken. In theoretical terms, a three-step movement to grasp diversity in Central and Eastern Europe is proposed: (1) the acknowledgement of the plurality of modernizing agency and its creativity; (2) the acknowledgement of multi-interpretability and difference as primary elements of modernity; and (3) a sensitivity to the resulting institutional variety in societal constellations. In substantive terms, it is argued that diversity is a distinctive mark of Europe that is bound to persist in an enlarged Europe, despite the spirit of assimilation in the accession process. Copyright © 2005 Sage Publications.

Post-communist modernization, transition studies, and diversity in Europe

Blokker, Paul
2005

Abstract

The majority of studies of post-communism - habitually grouped under the heading of 'transitology' - understand the transition ultimately as a political and cultural convergence of the ex-communist societies with Western Europe. Even those critical approaches that regard the post-communist transition as a relatively unique phenomenon (as in the approaches of path dependency and neo-classical sociology) tend to conflate normative prescriptions with empirical descriptions and to move within an overall framework of what Michael Kennedy has aptly called 'transition culture'. This article argues instead that the transition's nature can only be fully grasped if a case-specific and historical-contextual approach is taken. In theoretical terms, a three-step movement to grasp diversity in Central and Eastern Europe is proposed: (1) the acknowledgement of the plurality of modernizing agency and its creativity; (2) the acknowledgement of multi-interpretability and difference as primary elements of modernity; and (3) a sensitivity to the resulting institutional variety in societal constellations. In substantive terms, it is argued that diversity is a distinctive mark of Europe that is bound to persist in an enlarged Europe, despite the spirit of assimilation in the accession process. Copyright © 2005 Sage Publications.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/676841
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