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The case of Romania

The post-communist transition in Romania has been a period rife with high hopes and expectations as well as strong disappointments and disillusions. The engagement with these disappointments or disillusions has mainly fallen along the lines of critical editorial comments by dissidents and intellectuals or academic engagements that connect it to different forms of social and political apathy. What seems to be lacking however, is a more head-on engagement with disillusionment as a self-contained process that is not just a side-effect of political corruption or economic failures but rather an intrinsic part of any transition. This book provides the basis for a theory of disillusionment in instances of transition. It also elaborates on how such a theory could be applied to a specific case-study, in this instance, the Romanian transition from communism to capitalism. By defining disillusionment as the loss of particularly strong collective illusions, the book identifies what those illusions were in the context of the Romanian 1989 Revolution. It also seeks to understand the extent to which disillusionment is intrinsic to social change, and more importantly, determine whether it plays an essential role in shaping both the direction and the form of change. The book further inevitably places itself at the intersection of a number of different academic literatures: from regional and comparative studies, political science and "transitology" studies, to sociology, psychology and cultural studies.

Global processes, local challenges

This book is a tribute to Enzo Mingione and his contribution to the fields of sociology and urban studies on the occasion of his retirement. It touches upon the processes of transformation of cities to the informal economy, from the Fordist crisis to the rediscovery of poverty, from the welfare state and welfare policies to migration and the transformation of work. These themes constitute the analytical building blocks of this book on the transitions that Western capitalist societies are undergoing. The book focuses on social foundations of Western capitalism, explaining how socio-economic and institutional complementarities that characterised postwar capitalism created relatively integrated socio-economic regimes, It has five thematic sections reflecting five areas of capitalism, the search interests of Enzo Mingione. The first discusses the transformations of global capitalism, addressing how capitalism works and how it changes. The second provides insights into the mechanisms of re-embedding, in particular how welfare policies are part of a societal reaction to capitalism's disruptive dynamic. The third addresses some main challenges that citizenship systems established in the post-war period have had to face, from the spread of new employment regimes to new migratory flows. The fourth addresses cities and their transformation and the final section addresses poverty and its spatial dimension as a crucial lens through which to understand the differentiated impact of the processes of change in Western capitalist societies, both in socio-economic and spatial terms.

Anca Mihaela Pusca

4 Shock and transitions If the previous chapter has tried to understand and explore both the positive and negative aspects of disillusionment as a particular framework for looking at transitions and periods of great social change, this chapter tries to better understand the initial point of change or transition, generally characterized by a so-called period of shock. By seeking to answer the question of how transitions came to be understood as generally positive times, the chapter explores different understandings of the concept of shock, arguing that perhaps

in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
The international connection
Francesco Cavatorta

3 Explaining Algeria’s transition: the international connection This chapter has three main objectives. First of all it aims to construct a framework of transitions that includes international variables, using theoretical assumptions drawn from international relations theories. Such framework can also help understand the subsequent role that the country under examination will play in the international system. The second objective is to specify the components of this framework. In particular, it will focus on detailing the two fundamental dimensions briefly

in The international dimension of the failed Algerian transition
Global processes, local challenges
Alberta Andreotti, David Benassi, and Yuri Kazepov

1  Alberta Andreotti, David Benassi and Yuri Kazepov Western capitalism in transition: global processes, local challenges Capitalism is not merely a way of organising production and consumption based on the private ownership of the means of production, driven by alleged natural human behaviour (selfishness, self-interest) and aimed at maximising profit. The sociological understanding of capitalism defines it as a model for the structure of the whole of society, where economic momentum is ‘only’ one of the aspects of such a structure. In this introduction we

in Western capitalism in transition
Francesco Cavatorta

4 The external context of the Algerian transition Before analysing whether the hypotheses outlined in Chapter 3 are confirmed by the evidence gathered, it is necessary to describe in greater detail the external environment with which Algeria had to contend before, during and after its problematic transition. The external environment Huntington’s study (1991: 45) of why so many countries democratised or attempted to do so at a particular moment sees ‘the unprecedented global economic growth of the 1960s’ as central. In Algeria however, the timing of the process

in The international dimension of the failed Algerian transition
Francesco Cavatorta

5 The external–internal linkages of the ­transition The external shocks: the economic recession The first element that needs to be analysed is the role played by the economic crisis of 1985–86 in ‘forcing’ the ruling elites to open up the system. It has been established that government revenues fell due to the oil counter-shock and this led to widespread impoverishment among the general population, which in turn led to the October 1988 riots. Due to the outbreak of violence the ruling elite decided to open up the political system. The question that should be

in The international dimension of the failed Algerian transition
Democracy betrayed?

This book builds a theoretical framework through which previously neglected international factors are brought into the analyses of transitions to democracy. It then explores the case of Algeria. It contributes to the literature on democratisation and provides an analysis of Algerian politics during the last two decades. More specifically, it examines how international variables influence the behaviour and activities of Algerian political actors. By bridging the comparative politics and international relations literature, the book offers a new understanding of the initiation, development and outcome of transitions to democracy. International factors, far from being marginal and secondary, are treated as central explanatory variables. Such external factors were crucial in the failed Algerian transition to democracy, when the attitudes and actions of key international actors shaped the domestic game and its final outcome. In particular, the book looks at the controversial role of the Islamic Salvation Front and how its part was perceived abroad. In addition, it argues that international factors significantly contribute to explaining the persistence of authoritarian rule in Algeria, to its integration into the global economy and its co-optation into the war on terror.

Shamanism and postsocialism in Northern Mongolia
Morten Axel Pedersen

7 Transitional cosmologies: shamanism and postsocialism in Northern Mongolia Morten Axel Pedersen Introduction This chapter1 explores the relationship between shamanism and postsocialism in Northern Mongolia. However, rather than treating shamanism as a religious cosmological framework by which people in Northern Mongolia bestow symbolic meanings to and thus make sense of the political-economic realities of postsocialist transition, my aim is to address the theme of cosmology in a somewhat more sideways fashion, by asking what a cosmology of postsocialism might

in Framing cosmologies
Open Access (free)
Education and development in modern Southeast Asian history
Tim Harper

Bayly 08_Tonra 01 21/06/2011 10:33 Page 193 8 The tools of transition: education and development in modern Southeast Asian history Tim Harper In 1935, one of Java’s greatest educators, Ki Hajar Dewantara (1889–1959), reflected on modern education and its accomplishments: It is not an easy task to go through a period of transition, and it becomes even harder when extraneous factors intervene in the renovation process, greatly hindering a normal adjustment. How often we have been misled by presumed needs which we considered natural but which we later realized

in History, historians and development policy