Annotation: A concept of transition from a centrally-planned economy and one party system to a market-based economy and multiparty state raises a series of questions: Was there only one system in the past? Can we talk about a post-socialist transition in Central and Eastern Europe? Can we talk about the common legacy? How to think communism today through the prism of legacy and change?
The post-socialist transition is a complex and multidisciplinary phenomenon. It can be dealt with from political, economic, historical, sociological or anthropological aspect, bringing forth distinct conceptualizations of a transition, depending on methodological, empirical and theoretical backgrounds. The panel will bring together macro and micro perspective covering the phenomena of a new nation state building process, exploring political democratization, integration in EU, economic and social restructurings in Southeastern and Central Europe.
The beginning of post-socialist/post-communist transition symbolically begun with the fall of the Berlin wall, politically, as a milestone, it was represented by first democratic elections in various transformed or newly established nation states across Eastern and Central Europe. Transition studies started to grow rapidly in the 90s. Mainly, they focused on institutional changes; exploring restructurings and reorganizations on a macro level, evaluating political and economic progress. They emphasized break ups and discontinuities. These studies were criticized by authors who pointed out continuities. By talking about legacies of past systems (path dependant theories), they questioned the one direction model proposed by market transition theory, and argued for various forms of capitalisms.
The concept of post-socialist transition was later problematized by studies of post-socialism. By analyzing micro processes, a thesis of transformation questioned social evolutionary views and progressive perspectives following linear lines to capitalism that portrayed socialism as a totalitarian regime in an opposition to democratic system in capitalism. In this respect, transformation was understood as a complete remodeling of basic semantic and interpretive systems, which strives for various possible paths of development and not simply one end result. A focus on a micro level — on the way how people contest or contradict, follow or oppose institutional changes, — pointed out (inter)linkages between various levels: local, individual, social, state, national, and international. The post-socialist empirical material assert resemblances, similarities, and differences, showing how people, institutions and states conjoined in a context of massive regional and global shifts
Slovenia was one of the countries rarely included in international discussions about post-socialism. In particular, with a study that would cover all three levels: the political, the economic and the social. The aim of this panel is to bring together historical and anthropological material (based on archive material, interviews, and media analysis) to cover a nation state building process, political, economic and social restructuring from macro and micro perspective. The panel will take stance by individual and collective subjects toward institutions, practices and values, both from the socialist past and the post-socialist present. The goal is to explore intersections, to embed and relate different (Slovenian!) country case studies in a comparison with post communist South Eastern and Central European world, in order to stimulate further discussions.