Between reform and revolution : three hypotheses about the nature of the regime change

TitleBetween reform and revolution : three hypotheses about the nature of the regime change
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsKis, J.
Journal titleConstellations
Pages399 - 421

In the European region of the Russian world system, rapid, unforeseen and far-reaching changes took place in 1989/90. Within no time, the constitutional order was radically transformed. Not only were the political institutions of parliamentary government and of the rule of law born almost overnight, but private property was emancipated and the legal framework for a capitalist economy was established. True, the actual transformation of property relations and social conditions is not that spectacular. Its course is controversial, its forms distorted, and its rhythm unsatisfactory. Aim with this article is to try to dissolve the paradox of "refolution." The author will attempt to explore the features of the 1989/90 Eastern European transition process which locate it between reform and revolution. He hopes to succeed in defining a specific type of social and political transformation; by so doing, he hopes also to provide new perspectives for understanding other already familiar and well described types. Borrowing from the terminology of the 1989/90 Hungarian opposition, the author will call the type falling between reform and revolution a regime change.


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Department of Philosophy
Department of Political Science