Topic outline

  • Description and Rules (Syllabus)

    The course will survey the dilemmatic simultaneity of political and economic transition(s) to democracy and market economy in East-Central Europe (ECE) after 1989. Taking advantage of Comparative and International Political Economy perspectives, it will examine the intricacies inherent to the past formation and present crisis of democratic capitalism in ECE as geo-historically distinct outcomes of otherwise general (re)ordering of world politics and global economy in last three decades. The course structure is as follows: First, we will focus on historical conditions, general dilemmas, and the emergent diversity of democratic capitalism on Europe´s Eastern periphery in order to acquire a better grasp of political-economic dynamics in this region. Gaining the bigger picture will then allow us to explore the particular inter-national commonalities as well as varieties of (welfare) state role in economy, (new) property relations, and (collective) actors in postcommunist capitalism. From that viewpoint, we will then survey the ECE´s transnational (re-)integration into European and global political-economic structures as a solution to its transition dilemmas which has however unevenly eroded in recent years. In sum, the course aims to help students with better understanding of at least the following questions: Is the long-term cohabitation of democracy and capitalism possible in ECE? What are the main varieties and similarities shaping the still uncertain diversity of democratic capitalism in ECE and what makes the ECE´s case different from and similar to other regional clusters in the EU (and postcommunist world) at the same time? How can we explain the most recent period of democratic backsliding? Have there actually been any democratic capitalism in CEE and, if so, what future does it have?


    Office Hours: Thursday, 17:00-19:00 (IIR; prior appointment via email necessary)

  • From Eastern Semiperiphery to the Semipheriphery of the West

  • (Im)possibility of Democratic Capitalism in Postcommunist Transition

  • Diversity of Democratic Capitalism at Last?

  • Dependent Development in ECE as a Solution to Transition Dilemmas?

  • State-Led Development in Russia as an Alternative?

  • New Capitalist Elite and New Property Relations

  • Social Movements and Labour in Postcommunism

  • Politics of Redistribution and the Welfare State

  • Working Poor and the Neoliberal Burden

  • Europeanization: Assymetrical EU Integration

  • Globalization? Uneven Economic Integration

  • (Global) Economic Crisis? Resilience of Capitalist Diversity

  • (European) Political Crisis? Democratic Backsliding