While the decline of communism in the late twentieth century brought democracy, political freedom, and better economic prospects for many people, it also produced massive social dislocation and engendered social problems that were far less pronounced under the old regimes. The fall of state socialism led to enormously complex political, economic, social, and cultural transformations, and while political liberalization was a lofty goal, it was neither uniform in its effects nor unqualified in its benefits. Postcommunism from Within foregrounds the diversity of the historical experiences and current realities of people in the postcommunist region in examining how they are responding to these monumental changes at home. The original essays in this volume lay out a bold new approach to research on the postcommunist region, and to democratization studies more broadly, that focuses on the social and cultural microprocesses behind political and economic transformation. Thematic essays by eminent scholars of postcommunism from across the social sciences are supported by case studies to demonstrate the limitations of current democratization paradigms and suggest ways of building categories of research that more closely capture the role of vernacular knowledge in demanding, creating, and adapting to institutional change. A novel approach to understanding one of the greatest political and social transformations in recent history, Postcommunism from Within explores not just how citizens respond to political and economic restructuring engineered at the top but also how people enact their own visions of life, politics, and justice by responding to daily challenges.
This volume brings together leading research to consider the role of education in creating more equitable societies. Adopting an international and comparative perspective, it explores the power of education to challenge cycles of disadvantage and create different futures.
Based on extensive, long-term fieldwork in the borderlands of Afghan and Tajik Badakhshan, this book explores the importance of local leaders and local identity groups for the stability of a state’s borders, and ultimately for the stability of the state itself. It shows how the implantation of formal institutional structures at the border, a process supported by United Nations and other international bodies, can be counterproductive in that it may marginalise local leaders and alienate the local population, thereby increasing overall instability. The study considers how, in this particular borderland where trafficking of illegal drugs, weapons and people is rampant, corrupt customs and border personnel, and imperfect new institutional arrangements, contributed to a complex mix of oppression, hidden protest and subtle resistance, which benefitted illicit traders and hindered much needed humanitarian work. The book relates developments in this region to borderlands elsewhere, especially new borders in the former Soviet bloc, and argues that local leaders and organisations should be given semi-autonomy in co-ordination with state border forces in order to increase stability and the acceptance of the state.
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