Democratic and Capitalist Transitions in Eastern Europe: Lessons for the Social Sciences / Edition 1

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This book provides an authoritative assessment of the 'transitions' or 'transformations' currently under way in Central and Eastern Europe. In order to explore this abundant set of diverse and complex processes, it has adopted a particular perspective, which consists of examining the historical specificity of these processes - particularly the simultaneity of political and economic transitions - and, at the same time, how the social sciences have approached and interpreted them and how, in return, they have undergone the impact of these processes. The book offers, on the one hand a number of new substantial insights into these transformations, in particular on the questions of what 'democratic consolidations' actually consist of, as well as the political economy, in a strict sense, of these transitions, focusing on the precise characterization of the market economies which have emerged from these processes. On the other hand, it also constitutes an in-depth critical appraisal, unequalled so far, of the methodological principles, models of explanation, and fallacies, of the main approaches or paradigms competing within this research field, especially the 'strategic' approach of the classical transitology, and the path dependence approach, with its more avant-garde flavor. Thus, the analyses and discussions presented in this collection of essays exceed widely the empirical fields of East European transformations, and of transitology on the whole; as a result this innovating book should usefully contribute to destabilizing routine ways of thinking of social scientists and students far beyond the communities of specialists in these questions.
Audience: This book will be of interest to academics, researchers, and students in the field of political science, sociology, economics, history, political geography, international affairs, and European and Eastern European studies. In addition specialists, professionals and civil servants of international organizations and public administrators interested in aspects of the economic development, economic aid, and enlargement of the European Union may find this volume invaluable.

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Editorial Reviews

European and American social scientists grapple with the recognition that if the social sciences are to meet the challenge of understanding eastern European transition to both democracy and capitalism, it is necessary to re-examine the methodological principles and the models of explanation of the main approaches, or paradigms, competing within the research, most notable the strategic approach of classical transitology, and the path- dependence approach, with its more avant-garde flavor. The 12 essays consider the impact of eastern European transformations on transitology; elites, political games, and the consolidation of democracy; and the political economy of simultaneous transitions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792363316
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 6/1/2000
  • Series: GeoJournal Library Series, #55
  • Edition description: 2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Michel Dobry is Professor of Political Science at the University of Paris X, Nanterre, and Director of the Laboratoire d'Analyse des Systèmes Politiques (CNRS). His works have greatly contributed to the ongoing renewal of the analysis of processes of political crises and, more generally, critical political conjunctures.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements. Notes on Contributors. 1. Introduction: When Transitology Meets Simultaneous Transitions; M. Dobry. Part I: Transitology: the Impact of Eastern European Transformations. 2. Rival Views of Postcommunist Market Society. The Path Dependence of Transitology; B. Greskovits. 3. Paths, Choices, Outcomes, and Uncertainty. Elements for a Critique of Transitological Reason; M. Dobry. 4. The Place of Place in Transitions to Democracy; V. Bunce. 5. Anticipated Institutions: the Power of Path-finding Expectations; M. Federowicz. Part II: Elites, Political Games, and the Consolidation of Democracy. 6. Elite Power Games and Democratic Politics in Central and Eastern Europe; J. Higley, J. Pakulski. 7. From Transition to Consolidation. Extending the Concept of Democratization and the Practice of Democracy; P. Schmitter, N. Guilhot. 8. Constitutions and 'Good Democracy' in Eastern Europe; L. Morlino. Part III: The Political Economy of Simultaneous Transitions. 9. The Transformation of State Socialism in Russia: from 'Chaotic' Economy to State-led Cooperative Capitalism; D. Lane. 10. Constituting Markets: the Case of Russia and the Czech Republic; L. Bruszt. 11. National Trajectories of Post-socialist Transformation: Is There a Convergence Towards Western Capitalisms? B. Chavance, E. Magnin. 12. Internationalisation: An Issue Neglected in the Path-Dependency Approach to Post-Communist Transformation; D. Bohle. Index.
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