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The Varieties of Transition. The East European and East Geman Experience

  • ID: 2249249
  • Book
  • October 1996
  • Region: Europe
  • 264 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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In recent years the countries of eastern Europe have been undergoing a process of rapid social and political transformation. This process has brought with it common problems experienced on different levels: economic crisis, growing social insecurity and injustice, ethnic conflicts and civil strife. In addition, post–communist societies have encountered political, legal and social difficulties in coming to term with their own past.

In this book, Claus Offe provides a lucid and insightful account of this complex process of transformation. In a wide–ranging discussion he analyses the problems brought about by the creation of new political and economic orders in the countries of central and eastern Europe, and argues that the way forward is to build and consolidate a new democratic polity, a new economy, and a new conception of nationhood capable of absorbing ethnic conflict.

He examines the comparatively straightforward – but nonetheless extremely rocky – ′special path′ to capitalism followed by the former German Democratic Republic, and analyzes the effects which the collapse of communism has had on western democracies.

Varieties of Transition will be welcomed by students and researchers in a wide range of disciplines including politics, sociology, European Studies, German Studies and modern history.

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1. The Structure of Industrial Societies: The Joint Characteristics and Shortcomings of State Socialist Societies and Democratic Capitalism.

2. Prosperity, Nation, Republic: Modes of Societal Integration and the Unique German Journey from Socialism to Capitalism.

3. Capitalism by Democratic Design? Democratic Theory Facing the Triple Transition in East Central Europe.

4. Ethnic Politics in East European Transitions.

5. Disqualification, Retribution, Restitution: Dilemmas of Justice in Post–Communist Transitions.

6. The Morality of Restitution: Reflections on Some Normative Questions Raised by the Transition to a Private Economy (with Frank Bönker).

7. A ′Special Path′ of Transformation? The German ′Accession Territory′ Compared with its East European Neighbours.

8. Economic ′Hardware′ and Institutional ′Software′ in the two German Transitions to Democracy: Comparing Post–1945 West Germany with Post–1989 East Germany.

9. The Left after the West′s Victory.




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"The uniquely twentieth–century task of politically crafting the transformation of totalitarian regimes is analysed by Claus Offe with unprecedented intelligence and political wisdom."
Professor John Keane, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster

"One of the main virtues of Offe′s book is that it does bring the West into the frame of analysis, not simply as a fixed and unquestioned standard by means of which to judge postcommunist "progress" – but as an active player in the transition process." Times Higher Education Supplement

"Claus Offe′s collection of essays (some of them already familiar) could well provide the essential handbook to the aspiring transitologist." International Affairs

"This is more a collection of essays on these various important themes than a book focusing on a single issue. It is indeed the characteristic of Claus Offe′s book that, instead of a single thread in his analysis, it covers a great variety of themes. This is one of the riches of the book." Economic Systems

"This book promises to become a seminal work in the study of regime transition. Offe′s work is inspiring, demanding, irritating, brilliant. Essential reading." Political Studies

"This is a stimulating and interesting book which can be recommended for courses on transition and development." Europe–Asia Studies

"This is probably the best book yet to be written placing eastern Germany in the broader context of post–communist transition ... [It] will provide a useful teaching aid for use with undergraduate students." German Politics

"Offe has delivered an exceptional synthesis of his views about the subject." Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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