Political Science | Comparative Politics: The Politics of Post-Communism
Y657 | 16264 | Smyth

Scholars characterize the 1989 Communist revolutions as “social
revolutions” that upended the economic, social and political
organizations that ordered individual behavior for decades.  In the
twenty years since the collapse of Communist systems in East Central
Europe, political scientists have explored a number of critical
debates over transitology, theories of democratic consolidation, and
the interconnectedness of democracy and market across disparate
regimes.  These inquiries—both theoretic and empirical—have led to
significant insight about macro-level processes of regime
transition.   Much less work has been done exploring the individual-
level responses to the political, economic and social institutions
institutional changes that characterized the dual market-political
regime transitions in post-Communist states.  This deficit in micro-
level studies is particularly stark when we consider both the effect
of economic and social change on political behavior and the dearth
of comparative studies dealing with social and economic changes in
the region.  This class will survey the existing literature on
individual-level responses to institutional change, drawing from a
wide-range of social science disciplines.  The meta-goal of the
course is to think about how individual responses to institutional
change shaped political beliefs and attitudes, behaviors, and
outcomes.   The reading will include important new books in the
field as well as articles from both policy and disciplinary
journals.   Students will be evaluated on the basis of
participation, three short papers related to the course readings and
discussion, a book review, and a final project that reflects the
students’ personal research interests.