Trajectories of Post-Communist Transformation: Myths and Rival Theories about Change in Central and Southeastern Europe

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Ramet, Sabrina P. (2013) Trajectories of Post-Communist Transformation: Myths and Rival Theories about Change in Central and Southeastern Europe, Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs 18(1): 57–89.

​The collapse of communism in Central and Southeastern Europe has given rise to various myths and debates. This article undertakes to examine and debunk two myths and to summarise and assess four debates. The two myths are, first, that no one foresaw the collapse of communism or offered any clear prediction of that eventuality in the decade preceding 1989, and, second, that what occurred in the region between 1989 and 1991 could not be described as a revolution since, allegedly, it was masterminded by the communist authorities themselves; this article refutes these two myths. The four debates concern whether to describe the processes of change since 1989 as a transition or a transformation, what to count as democratic consolidation, and what to understand as the reasons for differences in paths of transition (or transformation), and as reasons for differences in the level of success with democratisation. The article includes some comparative measures of regional progress since 1989.​​

Available online

Authors

Sabrina P. Ramet

Sabrina P. Ramet

Professor, Department of Sociology and Political Science, NTNU