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Belief in Democracy, Disbelief in Rule of Law?: Legacies of Dissent and Revolutionary Outcomes in East-Central Europe, 1989-2019

Tue, November 26, 10:00 to 11:45am, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Floor: 5, Sierra J

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel addresses a post-1989 political paradox in East-Central Europe (ECE): the shift from a widespread belief in democracy to an increasing disbelief in the rule of law. Paper presenters examine legacies of dissent and revolutionary outcomes to explain more general political developments in the region, from the 1989 regime changes to the ongoing processes of authoritarian backsliding. Piotr WCISLIK (Institute of Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw) addresses the samizdat print culture in Poland and the post-1989 clash between the visions of culture and politics of unlicensed media activists and the ones championed by transitional politicians, to establish a link between the post-1989 transition and the current authoritarian backsliding. Michal KOPECEK (Imre Kertesz Kolleg, Jena/ Institute of Contemporary History, Prague) discusses the legacy of dissident legalism in Central Europe and the role it played in early post-communism in shaping the framework of transitional justice and of coming to terms with the communist past, and in molding strong liberal constitutionalism. Dragos PETRESCU (University of Bucharest) focuses on path-dependence, agency and contingency to explain the political developments in ECE over the period 1989–2019, from the regime changes to the incipient reverse transitions in the region, with an emphasis on Poland, Hungary and Romania. Daniel CHIROT (Herbert J. Ellison Professor of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle), who has written extensively, among others, on the decline of Leninism, economic history of Eastern Europe, ethnopolitical warfare and revolutions, will be discussant to the panel and will also act as chair.

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