Varieties and patterns of post-communist transformations

A qualitative comparative retrospective scenario analysis

Authored by: Zenonas Norkus

The Routledge International Handbook of European Social Transformations

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472477941
eBook ISBN: 9781315612942
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides an outline of a middle-range-based (bottom-up) theory of varieties of post-communist transformation, developed using techniques of scenario building and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). Retrospective scenario building (or systematic counterfactual analysis) explores the unrealised possibilities of post-communist transformations in coping with limited empirical diversity, which impedes the derivation of its patterns or quasi-laws. The main drivers of post-communist transformation are identified by critically recycling the discussions of the different modes of the political (pacted transition versus revolution) and economic (gradual versus ‘shock therapy’ market reforms) exits from communism. Received dichotomies are expanded into politomies, supplementing them with a variable describing dominant orientations in the social imaginary of the late communist societies in enlarging political economic analysis by the distinctively sociological dimension. This analysis distinguishes several varieties of post-communist capitalism and pinpoints the relative autonomy of the economic and political transformations, i.e. the possibility of the emergence of viable post-communist capitalism without liberal democracy, and vice versa.

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