The purpose of this conference is to examine the impact of 1989 by inviting the broader research community dealing with European integration and European history. The revolutions of 1989 have had a paradox impact on the process of European integration. On the one hand, the divisions of the Cold War were overcome, subsequently enabling the enlargement of the Council of Europe to 47 member states and of the European Union to 27 member states. On the other hand, one could argue that since 1989 the process of European integration has become disputed more than before, including the explicit questioning of efforts at political and cultural integration. The new member states in Eastern Europe are hesitant to give up their newly won national sovereignty. The failed referenda for a European constitution in France and the Netherlands signal that citizens in Western Europe are distrustful about this new Europe that emerged as a result of the revolutions of 1989. Fear of migration, labour competition and a weakened welfare state seemingly prevails over the desire of a continued European integration.
The paradox impact of 1989 is also visible in discourses on the significance and meaning of this year. It is clear that the events of 1989 can be compared with previous periods of European and global revolutions such as in 1789. 1989 was not merely a ‘rectifying’ revolution by which Eastern Europe returned to a “normal” path of European history. But debates on the significance and impact of 1989, however, occur mostly in national contexts. Moreover, Europe is still split into East and West in its memory of 1989. Although the changes impacted the entire continent, it is still seen as an event that took place in Eastern Europe and changed only this part of continent. This is also the implicit basis of the field of transformation studies, which are mostly limited to Eastern Europe, as if only this part of the continent would undergo rapid social and political change.
The conference aims to overcome this regionalist approach and to deal with the period between 1989 and the EU-enlargement in 2004/07 in a comparative perspective that encompasses (the former?) East and West of Europe. The impact of 1989 on structures and discourses is studied in case studies in the field of migration (social change) and political parties and systems (political change). The working thesis is that structural integration was countered by ideational divergence. The conference also explores other characteristics of the years between 1989 and 2004/07 and asks whether and how this can be regarded as a distinctive period of European history.
Thursday 6 November 2008, 15.00-16.15
Official Opening of the Conference
“Beyond transformation. Reflections on the impact of 1989 on European history.”
Philipp Ther, Department of History and Civilisation, EUI
“Presentation of the nascent interdisciplinary research programme on the impact of 1989 on Europe, East and West.”
Chris Armbruster, Executive Director, Research Network 1989 and MPG Berlin
Explaining the causes and consequences of 1989: competing explanations
Chair: Philipp Ther, Professor of 20th century European history, European University Institute
With the benefit of hindsight, this session seeks to advance our understanding of 1989 by a comparative appraisal of historical explanations. While interpretations of 1989 abound and a considerable number of historical narratives have been offered, not that many attempts have been made at providing a comprehensive and consistent explanation. We are particularly interested in weighing and sequencing the important factors that
Have conditioned the events of 1989 in the longer term;
Contributed more immediately to the revolutions of 1989;
Impacted the early transformation period;
Are showing continuity before and after 1989;
Contribute to the way that 1989 is remembered today.
"From external other into the forgotten insider of Europe: Eastern European communism and European identity before and after 1989"
Benoit Challand, Marie Curie Fellow, Department of History and Civilisation, European University Institute
“Old problems in a new context: welfare before and after 1989”
Christoph Boyer, Professor of Contemporary European History, University of Salzburg
“The demise of the socialist state and the disintegration of the communist parties in Central Europe”
Mills Kelly, Associate Director, Center for History and New Media, George Mason University
“Remembering 1989 in United Germany”
Martin Sabrow, Director and Professor, Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF), Potsdam
Integrated flows but divisive perceptions? Intra-European migration since 1989
Chair: Ettore Recchi, Professor of Sociology, University of Florence
After 1989, and again after 2004, labour migration has been significant. While it is often said that labour migration supports economic growth in receiving countries and eases unemployment in sending countries, many Western European countries are holding on to restrictions until 2011, with the UK newly imposing restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians.
Among the highly-skilled migrants we observe a rapidly rising number of ‘foreign’ graduates in some core Western European countries in the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s. Nevertheless a stark discrepancy exists between the emerging European Higher Education Area of 46 states and the legal and social closure of national labour markets.
We are interested to observe in how far intra-European migration has fostered socio-economic integration but public discourses on migration point to ideational divergence.
“East Europeran Westbound Income-seeking Migrants: Some Unwelcome Effects on the Sender- and Receiver-Societies (A report on a Study in Progress)”
Ewa Morawska, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex
“The imagined European: The Polish plumber (le plombier polonais – der Polnische Klempner) and the Bolkestein directive”
Kornelia Konczal, Research Associate, Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Berlin
“Graduating as a Migrant? Professional mobility since 1989”
Joint Presentation by
Nina Wolfeil, Department of Georgraphy, University of Vienna
Marcin Galent, European Studies, Jagellonian University, Cracow
Mihaela Nedelcu, Institute of Sociology, University of Neuchatel
Raluca Prelipceanu, EUREQua, Pantheon Sorbonne, Paris
Julda Kielyte, London School of Economics
How the transformation of the East changes Europe: China (Eastern Asia) and Russia (CIS)
Chair: Chris Armbruster, Executive Director, Research Network 1989 and Max Planck Society, Berlin
There is doubtless some merit in the (largely modernization theoretical) perspective that the major institutional arrangements, social structures and everyday realities encountered in socio-economically advanced countries are remarkably similar. However, becoming more similar to the West does not necessarily mean becoming exactly like it. Once countries have sufficiently caught up with the developmental leaders, the former laggards may become innovators themselves, creators of unique solutions to common problems that may then serve as models not only for other developing nations, but also for the (former) leaders. Moreover, they may evolve into veritable competitors: for investments and jobs, for human capital and tax payers, for raw materials; in research and development, in cultural production, in the exertion of political influence/power, and so forth. In short, countries undergoing successful modernization change not only themselves, but also the environment of other countries, especially when the modernizing countries are large or part of a sizeable group of countries moving in the same direction.
These lectures are devoted to discussing some such consequences, exploring observable and likely impacts of East European transitions on Western Europe, and the East Asian renaissance on Europe, the West and the world.
"Is the Centre of Modernity Shifting Eastwards? The Rise of (East) Asia and What it Means for Europe"
Volker H. Schmidt, Associate Professor of Sociology, National University of Singapore
“1989 – Bringing in a Global Europe?”
Laure Delcour, Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégique, Paris
Friday, 14.30 – 17.30
Democracy and the European Left after 1989
Chair: Thomas Mergel, Professor of European History, Humboldt University Berlin
For many in the West, 1989 signified the end of alternatives to liberal democracy. Political elites from Central Europe endorsed the adoption of liberal democracy, while the European Union promoted the model. 1989 then looks like the ‘normalization’ of democracy and the retreat of dissident notions of ‘civil society’ and ‘anti-politics’. Paradoxically, however, 1989 also gave an important impetus to a Western ‘self-reflexive turn’ towards the ‘democratization of democracy’ and supranational forms of democracy - strengthened by the Eastern European experience and the trans-national, East-West dialogue between dissidents and social movements.
On the other hand, the collapse of “actually existing socialism” in Central and Eastern Europe has had a profound impact, specifically on political identities and on discourses regarding the past and future of the European left. We observe that Social Democracy seeks to mitigate a self-professed ‘crisis’ by ‘third way’ ideology, which is supportive of free-market capitalism and claims legitimacy based on supposedly undisputable scientific knowledge rather than the inherited values of the European left. At the same time, East and West European societies have in recent years witnessed the re-emergence at the grassroots of new anti-capitalist theories and forms of action, now liberated from Soviet dominance and Cold War constraints.
Session 1 (14.30-16.00)
“1989 in the history of the Left in Western Europe: social democracy, communism, utopia”
Maud Bracke, Lecturer in Modern European History, University of Glasgow
“The German Left since 1989”
Peter Thompson, Senior Lecturer in German, Sheffield University
“Transition without Emancipation? 1989 and the Fate of the European Social Model”
Albena Azmanova, Associate Professor in International Relations, University of Kent at Brussels
Session 2 (16.30-17.30)
“From Minority Rights to Multiculturalism? The legal understanding of diversity in post-1989 Europe”
Julie Ringelheim, Chargée de recherches au FNRS, Universite de Louvain
“The impact of 1989 on perceptions of democracy”
Paul Blokker, Marie Curie Fellow, Sociology, University of Sussex
Saturday, 10.00 – 12.00
Ideas and institutions of Europe after 1989
Chair: Marise Cremona, Professor of European Law, European University Institute
The Western model of integration was always contested both from the outside and inside. Presently, notions of supranational integration and liberalization are contrasted to concepts of culture and civilization. Since 1989, this contrast has engendered renewed narrations of federalism, intergovernmentality, solidarity and self-determination in Europe. ‘Unity in diversity’ has not only fostered a polycentric understanding of varieties of Europe, it has also given space for essential readings of “Europe” in the several arenas in which European integration is debated. The panel highlights competing discourses about Europe and their regional disparities between East and West:
What was the corresponding other to the western European norms that were transferred from West to East in the transition period? How does it influence the Western estimation of eastern “Europeanness”?
What is the meaning of “national contributions to Europe” in Central Europe, following hopes of a “return to Europe” and subsequent disillusionments?
Are there repercussions of the pre-1989 difference in imagining Europe between East and West?
What are the consequences of the interplay between the institutionally framed Western discourse and Central European ideas of European integration? Will they strengthen European diversity or contribute to a perception of overstretched integration?
“1989 as a Return to Europe: on revolution, reform and reconciliation with a traumatic past”
Dragos Petrescu, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of Bucharest
“Return to Europe? How Central European debates on Europe have impacted European Union norms”
Christian Domnitz, Faculty of Cultural Studies, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder
“Justifying and Communicating Eastward Enlargement: Enthusiasm, impatience and pragmatism from the perspective of the European Commission”
Cristina Blanco Sio-Lopez, Research Associate, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Florence
“Making a New Constitutionalism: legal discourses from East to West after 1989”
Zdenek Kühn, Associate Professor, Law School, Charles University, Prague
Re-assessing the consequences of 1989: institutional integration but ideational divergence?
Chair: Kiran Klaus Patel, Professor of European Union History and Transatlantic Relations, European University Institute
The long-term consequences of 1989 are still emerging and are, as yet, not very well understood beyond the regional trajectories of the former Eastern Europe. Consequently, we ask panellists to engage with the following set of questions:
If 1989 signifies the breakdown of the Soviet empire, the collapse of state socialism and the end of the Cold War, how did this impact Western Europe?
Does the time between 1989 and 2004, with the consolidation of an enlarged European Union and newly emergent European configurations in areas as diverse as democracy, firms and higher education constitute a distinctive period of European history and transformation?
While the transformation from 1989 to 2004 is relatively well researched for Eastern Europe – if within a one-sided regional framework of transition or transformation studies – what do we know about the co-transformation of the existing European Union member states and their societies?
We also ask panellists to engage with the following hypothesis on European transformation:
The structural impact of 1989 in Europe has fostered economic and institutional integration, but the subsequent discursive shifts have lead to ideational divergence, reaffirming a difference between Western and Eastern Europe. The social and cultural domains are out-of-sync at the European level and potentially in contradiction and conflict.
“Discerning the Global in the European Revolutions of 1989”
Chris Armbruster, Executive Director, Research Network 1989 and Max Planck Society, Berlin
“1989 and the consequences for writing European history”
Jürgen Kocka, Research Professor, Social Science Research Centre (WZB), Berlin
"Western transitology and Eastern social science: parallel universes?"
Marek Skovajsa, Editor-in-Chief, Sociologicky casopis / Czech Sociological Review, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague
“Traces in the Sand: On the Impact of the 1989 Revolutions on Economic Thought in the West”
Janos Matyas Kovacs, Permanent Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna
Department of History and Civilization
European University Institute
via Boccaccio 121, 50133 Florence, Italy
ph.: (0039) 055 4685 541 fax: (0039) 055 4685 203
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)