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Postcommunist ambivalence: becoming of a new formation?

  • Barbara A. Misztal (a1)

Abstract

The initial optimistic illusions about the future of postcommunist countries have been cut short by not so encouraging developments in these societies. With the growing awareness that the postcommunist transition cannot be understood as a linear passage to a free market and parliamentary democracy, more attention is paid to the social and economic obstacles as well as to the legacy of real socialism. The feelings of increasing uncertainty about the outcome of postcommunist transformation have led some writers to characterise Eastern Europe as being in the stage of liminality (or in an inbetween stage), in which everything may happen yet little can be done (Bauman 1994: 32). Arguing from a Tocquevillian position for the need of both a strong state and a strong civil society and also adopting his insight into the importance of enlightened interest, I shall discuss factors responsible for a lack of government which operates under the rule of law, as well as discussing factors responsible for obstructing the development of civil society and the emergence of enlightened interest in the post-communist societies.

Les premiers rves optimistes sur l'avenir des pays postcommunistes ont t balays par les dveloppements peu encourageants de ces socits. En prenant davantage conscience que la transition postcommuniste ne pouvait pas tre un passage rapide un libre march et une dmocratie parlementaire, on a prt plus attention aux obstacles sociaux et conomiques, ainsi qu' l'hritage du socialisme rel. Le sentiment croissant d'incertitude quant au devenir du postcommunisme a conduit, quelques auteurs considrer l'Europe de l'Est comme tranversant un tat de liminalit (ou transitoire), dans lequcl tout peut arriver mais peu est susceptible d'tre fait (Bauman 1994 : 32). Le propos de cet article est de tracer les contours de cet tat de liminalit dans lequel les socits postcommunistes se sont trouves, afin d'estimer l'importance relative des facteurs. En s'appuyant sur Tocqueville, ncessit d'un tat fort, d'une socit civile forte et l'importance du sens des Lumires , l'auteur tudie les facteurs responsables du manque de gouvernement, capable d'agir selon la loi, aussi bien que du manque de dveloppement de la socit civile et de l'absence du sens des Lumires dans les socits postcommunistes.

Der anfngliche Optimismus ber die Zukunft der postkommunistischen Lnder ist schell durch weniger ermutigende Entwicklungen in jenen Gesellschaften zunichte gemacht worden. Seit der wachsenden Erkenntnis, da die Loslsung vom Postkommunismus nicht als geradliniger Wechsel zur freien Marktwirtschaft und parlamentarischen Demokratie verstanden werden kann, wird vermehrt den sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Hindernissen, sowie dem Erbe des realen Sozialismus Beachtung geschenkt. Die Gefhle wachsender Unsicherheit lber die Entwicklung des Postkommunismus haben einige Autoren dazuverleitet, Osteuropa als im Stadium der Liminalitt (oder im Zwischenstadium) zu bezeichnen, in welchem alles mglich ist, aber nur wenig getan werden kann (Bauman 1994: 32). Hauptaufgabe dieser Untersuchung ist es, das Stadium der Liminalitt aufzuzeigen, indem sich die postkommunistischen Gesellschaften befunden, um die relative Bedeutung dieser Faktoren zu bestimmen. Ausgehend von dem Ruf Tocquevilles nach einem starken Staat und einer starken Zivilgemeinschaft, sowie seiner berzeugung von der Bedeutung der Aufklrung , untersucht der Autor die Aspekte, die sowohl fur das Fehlen einer rechtmig handelnden Regierung, als auch fr die mangelnde Entwicklung der Zivilgesellschaft und den nicht vorhandenen Sinn fr Aufklrung in den postkommunistischen Gesellschaften verantwortlich sind.

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