Autonomy of Politics and Economy As a Challenge for the Former Communist Countries: A Comparative Perspective

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Tea GOLOB, School of Advanced Social Studies, Nova Gorica, Slovenia, Slovenia
Matej MAKAROVIC, School of Advanced Social Studies, Slovenia
The paper addresses the significance of autonomous self-organisation of the functional subsystems as one of the key challenges of post-communist transformations in Europe and Asia. Particular emphasis is placed on the autonomy of the political subsystem, which is supposed to be produced by the processes of democratisation, and the autonomy of the economic subsystem, which is supposed to be produced by marketization. While the initial challenge has been establishing the autonomy of various subsystems from the domination of the political subsystem (typical for the communist regimes), more contemporary challenges also include the problem of maintaining the autonomy of politics and other functional subsystems from the (neoliberal) market principles typical for the economic subsystem.

In theoretical terms, the paper draws from Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. Methodologically, it applies quantitative (path analysis) and mixed methods (fuzzy sets based qualitative comparative analysis). It demonstrates that a radical break with the former communist regime is sufficient for the self-organisation of the political subsystem and necessary for the radical market reforms. The latter, on the other hand, are sufficient but not necessary for the self-organisation of the economic subsystem, indicating a variety of ways into market economy. Moreover, though this is far from typical, a democratic self-organised political subsystem can also be established without a radical break with the past, as demonstrated in the case of Slovenia. Due to its specifics, this case is thus more precisely analysed, connecting the change and continuity in social structures with the reproduction of the political and economic imaginaries through the dominant discourses.