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Eastern Europe: Continuity and Change (1987–1995)

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Edited By Irena Grudzinska-Gross and Andrzej W. Tymowski

The book consists of articles from East European Politics and Societies, a journal published in the United States that first appeared in 1987. This selection is composed of papers written by the journal’s founders and early authors, among them Zygmunt Bauman, Tony Judt, Katherine Verdery, Vladimir Tismaneanu, Elemer Hankiss, Vesna Pusic, Maria Todorova. The first section Before the Change consists of texts written in the late 1980s; its authors tried to identify the cracks that would undermine or reform the existing system. In the second part of the book Alternative Futures contributors sketched the directions of the changes as they were just getting underway. The authors hoped that politics, economics, and societies were now free to reinvent themselves. The texts in the third section, Legacies of the Past, written before, during, and after the time of most drastic changes, show how the shadows cast by the histories of individual nations and the region as a whole continued to burden political strategies as well as daily lives.
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Eastern Europe: Continuity and Change, 1987-1995

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It is by now a well-worn commonplace that Communism “fell” or “imploded” in 1989, the annus mirabilis foretold by events such as the re-legalization of Polish Solidarity, the seepage of East Bloc citizens across the Hungarian and then the East German borders, and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall by deliriously happy citizens from east and west of it. The changes in the following years are also often treated as predetermined. Yet, the present collection of articles will show some of the intellectual and political preparations and effort that went into the not-so-spontaneous events of 1989 and their aftermath.

The book consists of articles from East European Politics and Societies, a journal published in the United States that first appeared in 1987. It was committed to analyzing the region from a variety of disciplinary perspectives articulated by scholars and other astute observers. Many of its authors were themselves dissidents, but most had established or were establishing their careers in western academia. The present volume is composed of articles written by the journal’s founders and early authors. We call them “classics.”

The first section—Before the Change—consists of texts written in the late 1980s; its authors never believed that Communism would fall of its own accord—it would have to be pushed. They try to identify where the “pushing” forces could come from. In the second part of the book—Alternative Futures—contributors sketched the directions of the changes as they were just getting...

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