Aspects of Post-Communism

Subject 166-541 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: *
Prerequisites: Admission to the Master of International Politics one-year program.
Corequisites: *
Recommended Background Knowledge: *
Non Allowed Subjects: *
Core Participation Requirements: *


Prof Leslie Holmes
Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on deeper theoretical aspects of the transitions from communist power, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, since 1989. It introduces students to many of the dilemmas faced by European (mainly) transition states, and to the concepts of totalitarianism, authoritarianism, revolution and refolution, post-communism, transformation, democratisation, marketisation, neo-liberalism, path-dependency, identity politics, nationalism and post-nationalism. The subject engages with debates on transition, including the tension between the desire for democracy and the frequently identified need for a strong state. In this context, the direction of post-communist states both away from and towards authoritarianism is examined, as is the potential conflict between socioeconomic goals such as a comprehensive welfare state and the political goal of democracy. On completion of the subject, students should have an advanced understanding of the dilemmas and historical specificity of post-communism, and of debates on several important concepts related to this, such as revolution/refolution, transformation, and the alleged crises of political modernity and the state. They should also be able to locate their knowledge within broader political and social theorising, and be able to discuss at an advanced level practical problems of attempts simultaneously to implement political, economic, social, cultural and ideological revolutions.

Assessment: A research essay totalling 5000 words 100% (due at the end of semester). In addition, students will be required to introduce an aspect of a given seminar's theme and provide a one-page summary of their talk to the other members of the group at the start of their presentation.
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader will be available.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • be able to develop persuasive arguments on a given topic;

  • be able to communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively and articulately.


Formerly available as 166-063/449. Students who have completed 166-063/449 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Master of Arts (Asian Societies)
Master of Arts (International Studies)(Adv. Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Master of International Politics
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (Political Science)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Political Science)

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