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20 Years after the Collapse of Communism

Expectations, achievements and disillusions of 1989

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Nicolas Hayoz, Leszek Jesien and Daniela Koleva

The volume is an attempt to assess the meanings of 1989, in particular the multiple transformation processes and their effects in Eastern Europe. Obviously, the realities of the post-communist transformations have not met the expectations. Were the expectations too high? Did democratic institutions prove incompatible with local cultures? Was their implementation too fast to correspond to a genuine development of democratic culture? Whatever the reasons, the road to democracy has turned out to be steeper and the communist legacy heavier than expected.
The authors of this volume seek to comprehend the intricacies of various aspects of the post-communist transition; looking at a broad array of countries that have followed different paths. The studies combine methods of different disciplines. ‘Insider’ perspectives are juxtaposed with external assessments. This comparative and problem based approach brings into focus the ambiguities of the unfinished transformations as well as their broader cultural contexts: the politics of history and the battles for new memory, the re-signification of past and present, and the problematic transformation of homo sovieticus into an autonomous and responsive subject.

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Nicolas Hayoz, Daniela Koleva, and Leszek Jesień - Introduction: Paths of Ambiguous Transformation after 20 Years 9

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Nicolas Hayoz, Daniela Koleva, and Leszek Jesień Introduction: Paths of Ambiguous Transformation after 20 Years This book has a specific point of departure: in autumn 2009 the Inter- faculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe at the University of Fribourg organized its 10th Eastern European Day.1 The meeting focused upon the consequences of the breakdown of communism in 1989, and the 20th anniversary of this event offered good reasons for critically looking back. Which hopes came true, which did not, and why? What did the end of communism provoke in and for Europe? What are the consequences of those events for the European Union, for the respective countries, and for regional relations? Where are we heading to now? While we were not alone asking these questions in 2009, the guid- ing idea of this volume is to combine the approaches of different dis- ciplines and to examine a broad array of countries (including those where ‘1989’ happened some years later) that exemplify different paths of transformation Therefore, the contributions to this volume include perspectives from different disciplines: political, anthropo- logical, historical, literary-critical, cultural, and philosophical. They not only examine specific countries with their internal problems but also attempt to demonstrate regional consequences and to shed light upon the concerns of the others. They deal with regional relations and specific legacies of the past that have affected the countries’ choices and – consequently – their place within Europe. In approach- ing these questions, it has been indispensable to adopt a comparative, contextual, and...

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