Moving up and Down in the Capitalist World System: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Patterns in Post-Communist Transformation

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Zenonas NORKUS , Sociology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
The relation of Communist world to capitalist World System (WS) is disputed subject, opinions including the views of USSR as semi-periphery power in the capitalist WS, as residual empire resisting integration into WS, parallel World anti-System etc. Its breakdown was fuelled by promises of anti-communist counter-elites and broad populations of joining the core of WS in few years after re-introduction of free market and liberal democracy. After 20 years, analysts describe history of former communist countries in the 20th century as “detour from periphery to periphery” (Ivan Berend). After two decades of post-communist transformation, most of them remained in or returned to the positions where they were before Communism, some moved down from the semi-periphery to periphery, and only few managed to upgrade their world-systemic position. According to the transitological wisdom, economic (shock therapy) or political (revolutionary removal of Communist elite) factors are decisive for the early success of post-communist transformation. The author argues that neither economic nor politological explanations are sufficient to account for changes in the world-systemic position of former communist states (including China and Vietnam), and highlights the importance of cultural differences described in terms of four orientations (continuational, restitutive, emulative, and innovative) of social imaginary and social action on the eve of post-communist transformation. This argument is tested by qualitative comparative analysis of patterns in post-communist transformation.