Post-Cold-War Inequalities in Central Eastern Europe

Course Description: 

Social Justice and Human Rights Specialization for DPP

The end of the Cold War unleashed transformations that have reshaped the political, ideological, economic, and social landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe. Forces of global capitalism and its local manifestations, state machineries embracing models from liberal democracies to nationalist authoritarianism, and social struggles for resources, recognition, and spaces and means of everyday coping are coalescing in various enduring or transient configurations of social hierarchies and inequalities. The course will investigate interpretations of the political, social and scholarly debates that address the post-Cold-War generation and experiences of inequalities across various axes of power and domination. Central and Eastern Europe will be viewed as a location, an object and an active agent of producing, legitimizing, and resisting to outstanding forms of inequalities.     

The topics discussed in the course will highlight transformations in global capitalism that have saliently affected Central and Eastern Europe since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Inquiries on state practices in welfare provisions, development, and various regulatory and disciplinary practices will also be reviewed. The significance of selected social categories that embody and replicate axes of domination and marginalization will also be studied. Finally, the course will explore the literature on societal reactions, popular imagination, coping mechanisms, and citizens’ actions to forms and faces of inequalities.  

The course primarily relies on anthropological or anthropologically informed interpretations of inequality mechanisms by reviewing the sociological, historical, and political economy, and human geography scholarship as well. In addition, our attention will stretch to intersections of gender, racial, migration, welfare, and nationalism studies as well. The knowledge to be built through the course will generate comparative insights without promising a balanced and thorough ‘regional’ overview.    

Learning Outcomes: 

The course intends to help students acquire knowledge of the basic concepts and debates in critical social science that address the production, reproduction, and social hierarchies that modern political and moral thought calls inequalities. Students will be able to navigate themselves in the literature and discussions relevant to the recent history of inequality relations in Central and Eastern Europe. They should be able to use the core vocabulary of concepts that connects contemporary global processes and the post-socialist conditions. Thus, they will advance their understanding of the complexity of inequality patterns and mechanisms in late modern, late capitalist and other societies. Students will also achieve tangible progress in the quality of their academic writing through regular writing assignments. It is also expected that the course contributes to students’ becoming more confident in engaging seminar conversations and peer group-based knowledge building.


The final gradewill be composed by the assessment of class participation (30%), the reaction papers (30%) and the term paper (40%)