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Politik und Soziologie

News vom 07.11.2022

  • Varieties of Post-Socialist State-Society Relations – Sebastian Hoppe; Mihai Varga

    This class is an interdisciplinary Student-X-Research Project funded by the Berlin University Alliance (BUA). It addresses the restructuring of state-society relations across the post-socialist region towards a far-more outspoken role of the state in the economy and society, often at the expense of liberal democracy. Our project studies the contours and varieties of this statist restructuring, uncovering which post-socialist countries are affected by it, which ones are not, and why. From a comparative perspective, we want to evaluate the fruitfulness of different concepts which have tried to capture state-society relations in the post-socialist region. We seek to elaborate a specification of state-society relations concerning the emerging post-socialist developmental statism. In a first step, we explore in detail four paradigmatic post-socialist cases: Poland and Hungary for East-Central Europe, Russia for post-Soviet Eastern Europe, and Kazakhstan for Central Asia. By doing so, we will establish what this statist shift is about and what social forces supported its emergence. We will also shed light on the ideational sources, actor networks and international linkages surrounding the shift. The economies in the four paradigmatic cases have seen a broad range of increases in state involvement, from the banking sector to the extraction and commercialisation of natural resources. At the same time, civil society has seen a major push to advance conservative positions over families, the public role of religious organisations, and the regulation of - particularly foreign-funded - NGO’s activities. Transnational modes of integration have changed as well, as to constitute emerging alternatives to post-1989 models of Euro-Atlantic integration. These alternative modes range from the Three Seas Initiative to the Eurasian Economic Union and the New Silk Road. In a second step, we explore for each cluster (East-Central Europe, post-Soviet Eastern Europe, Central Asia) which countries other than the paradigmatic cases follow in on this shift and whether they require reconfiguring established concepts. Likewise, we will evaluate where post-socialist developmental statism could not take root thus far and why. We aim to clarify which aspects of the economy and civil society change and why, and how and to what extent transnational integration initiatives have indeed been materialising. With the instructors’ help, students will publish their research results in small, collaborative working papers after the end of the seminar.