Arista Maria Cirtautas
DISSENT, MOBILIZATION AND REVOLUTION IN POST-COMMUNIST EUROPE This course will examine the unconventional forms of political expression that have developed in eastern Europe since the end of communism. In the context of weakly institutionalized political party systems, under-developed civil societies and unresponsive governments, east European societal actors have found different, less formalized, ways of expressing their grievances as well as their aspirations for better governance and more just societies. In this context, it is important to note that not all dissent and mobilization takes place within a liberal democratic framework; nationalist and religiously based mobilization has also taken place. Whereas the content of dissent and mobilization may differ, the forms show considerable similarities: organizational fluidity, use of social media, attention to symbolism and visual expression, amorphous ideologies and possible contagion effects as mobilization in one country leads to unrest in another. This trans-national dimension of popular protest has, of course, prompted regime elites to develop some 'creative' counter-mobilization tactics of their own. Finally, we will consider how the concept and the practice of 'revolution' may have changed as a result of the Color Revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia. Our case studies will include: Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Poland, Hungary and Russia.
Student learning goals
Students will learn about the distinct forms of popular mobilization (and regime counter mobilization) that have taken shape in the context of post-communist European countries.
We will examine the enabling conditions for mobilization as well as the difficulties and constraints that impede successful revolutionary transformations as result of such mobilization. We will examine the actors involved (for example the emergence of a transnational community of activists). We will also look at creative forms of dissent enacted by individuals or small groups of actors.
Students will also learn how to engage in comparative analysis and will engage comparative work on social movements, revolutions as well as case specific accounts of dissent and mobilization.
General method of instruction
Lecture and Discussion
Class assignments and grading
4 short response essays (c. 2pp single-spaced); one student presentation and book review (on the work presented- 5-7pp double-spaced) and one research paper (10-13 pp double spaced).
10% participation 25% response essays 30% class presentation and book review 35% research paper