The State against Society: Political Crises and Their Aftermath in East Central Europe

Princeton University Press
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Classical images of state-socialism developed in contemporary social sciences were founded on simple presuppositions. State-socialist regimes were considered to be politically stable due to their pervasive institutional and ideological control over the everyday lives of their citizens, impervious to reform and change, and representative of extreme political and economic dependency. Despite their contrasting historical experiences, they have been treated as basically identical in their institutional design, social and economic structures, and policies. Grzegorz Ekiert challenges this notion in a comparative analysis of the major political crises in post-1945 East Central Europe: Hungary (1956-63), Czechoslovakia (1968-76), and Poland (1980-89).

The author maintains that the nature and consequences of these crises can better explain the distinctive experiences of East Central European countries under communist rule than can the formal characteristics of their political and economic systems or their politically dependent status. He explores how political crises reshaped party-state institutions, redefined relations between party and state institutions, altered the relationship between the state and various groups and organizations within society, and modified the political practices of these regimes. He shows how these events transformed cultural categories, produced collective memories, and imposed long-lasting constraints on mass political behavior and the policy choices of ruling elites. These crises shaped the political evolution of the region, produced important cross-national differences among state-socialist regimes, and contributed to the distinctive patterns of their collapse.

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About the author

Grzegorz Ekiert is Associate Professor of Government at Harvard University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Sep 30, 1996
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9781400822041
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Grzegorz Ekiert
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This book contributes to the literature on democratic consolidation, on the institutionalization of state-society relationship, and on protest and social movements. It will be of interest to political scientists, sociologists, historians, and policy advisors.
Grzegorz Ekiert is Professor of Government, Harvard University. Jan Kubik is Associate Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University.
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Niccolò Machiavelli's Art of War is one of the world's great classics of military and political theory. Praised by the finest military minds in history and said to have influenced no lesser lights than Frederick the Great and Napoleon, the Art of War is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the history and theory of war in the West—and for readers of The Prince and Discourse on Livy who seek to explore more fully the connection between war and politics in Machiavelli's thought.

Machiavelli scholar Christopher Lynch offers a sensitive and entirely new translation of the Art of War, faithful to the original but rendered in modern, idiomatic English. Lynch's fluid translation helps readers appreciate anew Machiavelli's brilliant treatments of the relationships between war and politics, civilians and the military, and technology and tactics. Clearly laying out the fundamentals of military organization and strategy, Machiavelli marshals a veritable armory of precepts, prescriptions, and examples about such topics as how to motivate your soldiers and demoralize the enemy's, avoid ambushes, and gain the tactical and strategic advantage in countless circumstances.

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Grzegorz Ekiert
Poland is the only country in which popular protest and mass opposition, epitomized by the Solidarity movement, played a significant role in bringing down the communist regime. This book, the first comprehensive study of the politics of protest in postcommunist Central Europe, shows that organized protests not only continued under the new regime but also had a powerful impact on Poland's democratic consolidation.
Following the collapse of communism in 1989, the countries of Eastern Europe embarked on the gargantuan project of restructuring their social, political, economic, and cultural institutions. The social cost of these transformations was high, and citizens expressed their discontent in various ways. Protest actions became common events, particularly in Poland. In order to explain why protest in Poland was so intense and so particularized, Grzegorz Ekiert and Jan Kubik place the situation within a broad political, economic, and social context and test it against major theories of protest politics. They conclude that in transitional polities where conventional political institutions such as parties or interest groups are underdeveloped, organized collective protest becomes a legitimate and moderately effective strategy for conducting state-society dialogue. The authors offer an original and rich description of protest movements in Poland after the fall of communism as a basis for developing and testing their ideas. They highlight the organized and moderate character of the protests and argue that the protests were not intended to reverse the change of 1989 but to protest specific policies of the government.
This book contributes to the literature on democratic consolidation, on the institutionalization of state-society relationship, and on protest and social movements. It will be of interest to political scientists, sociologists, historians, and policy advisors.
Grzegorz Ekiert is Professor of Government, Harvard University. Jan Kubik is Associate Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University.
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