Developmentalists and Nationalists: On the Transformations in Eastern Europe

Ondřej Císař

Abstrakt

Socialism was born out of the belief in the bright future of mankind. Thus, the utopian vision of classless society occupied the minds of the early communist avant-garde. Yet, such hopes did not survive the initial revolutionary enthusiasm. As the social organization of the ‘real socialism’ turned out to be a rigid bureaucratic system, the visions of the ‘bright future’ were replaced by the ‘picture of the golden age’, namely the image of the revolution itself. Accordingly, rituals commemorating the ‘founding fathers of socialism’ substituted the ritualized commitments to building the ‘ideal society of equals’. The ideological content of socialism vanished. Past memories occupied the present. With the breakdown of communism the present could for a moment release itself from the iron grip of the past. The “envelope of the unhistorical” seemed to be open for the deeds of new reformers. Yet, the present could not escape too far. It was almost immediately caught again either by the past or by the future. In the first case, post-communist nationalisms (Brubaker 1996) monopolized the political field; in the second case, the “scientists of the not yet” (Stark and Bruszt 1998: 1-11) disseminated their neoliberal visions of free-market economy. As a result, the present was defined either in terms of national myths going far back to history or by visions to be realized by imitation of the Western model of capitalism. The focus of this paper is the different paths taken by different countries in the region after the collapse of socialism. The paper distinguishes between the ‘nationalizing alternative’ as one basic direction, and the ‘catching up option’ as another one. The paper further argues that this dichotomy itself forms around two clusters of several potential stances which could have been taken in the process of transformations. The goal of the paper is to propose a general framework, with the help of which the interactions ‘behind’ the political decisions taken by political elites in the post-socialist countries could be explained. The paper utilizes some of the tools of institutionalism and Bourdieu’s sociology to bridge the gap between the macro-structural processes and the micro-level of social action.

Bibliografická citace

Císař, O. (2000). Developmentalists and Nationalists: On the Transformations in Eastern Europe. Středoevropské politické studie, 2(4). Získáno z https://journals.muni.cz/cepsr/article/view/3836

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Reference

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