In Politics without a Past Shari J Cohen offers a powerful challenge tocommon characterizations of postcommunist politics as either a resurgence ofaggressive nationalism or an evolution toward Western style democracy Cohendraws upon extensive field research to paint a picture of postcommunistpolitical life in which ideological labels are meaningless and exchangeableat will, political parties appear and disappear regularly, and citizensremain unengaged in the political process In contrast to the conventional wisdom, which locates the roots of widespread intranational strife in deeply rooted national identities from the past, Cohen argues that a profound ideological vacuum has fueled destructive tension throughout postcommunist Europe and the former Soviet Union She uses Slovakia as a case study to reveal that communist regimes bequeathed an insidious form of historical amnesia to the majority of the political elite and the societies they govern Slovakia was particularly vulnerable to communist intervention since its precommunist national consciousness was so weak and its only period of statehood prior to 1993 was as a Nazi puppet state To demonstrate her argument, Cohen focuses on Slovakias failure to forge a collective memory of the World War II experience She shows how communist socialization prevented Slovaks from tying their individual family storiesof the Jewish deportations, of the anti Nazi resistance, or of serving in the wartime governmentto a larger historical narrative shared with others, leaving them bereft of historical or moral bearings.Politics without a Past develops an analytical framework that will be important for future research in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and beyond Scholars in political science, history, East European and post Soviet studies will find Cohens methodology and conclusions enlightening For policymakers, diplomats, and journalists who deal with the region, she offers valuable insights into the elusive nature of postcommunist societies....
|Title||:||Politics without a Past: The Absence of History in Postcommunist Nationalism|
|Publisher||:||Duke University Press Books November 22, 1999|
|Number of Pages||:||296 pages|
|File Size||:||884 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Politics without a Past: The Absence of History in Postcommunist Nationalism Reviews
I read the book, Politics without a Past, a PhD dissertation. Author has a good style, lucid and convincing. It is a well written, well arranged and altogether an attractive, nice book. Otherwise thesis is way out of tune. A student spends hundreds of hours researching one very unique subject and end up with an entirely wrong conclusion. Mystery of mysteries. A slight reminder.Today's Slovakia is a member of the EU. and yes, it is with a past, and with a history, all its own. I don't know, at times a book such as this appears out of nowhere, and god bless also disappears into nowhere. Cheers, Peter
I found this book to be very insightful and well documented. Having done my own research on Slovakia (and Czechoslovakia) during the 20th century, and being the son of a Slovak major general who saved Jews from deportation, fought in the Slovak National Uprising, directly served under President Edvard Benes between 1945 and 1948, and escaped communist Czechoslovakia in 1948 to continue his fight against totalitarianism, I have gained a fairly good grasp and understanding of the events that Slovakia and her people experienced in the 20th century. I have many family members still living in Slovakia with whom I regularly communicate and have visited there on numerous occasions, including during the period of communist rule. From all that I have come to understand about Slovakia's history and present-day struggles, I find that Dr. Cohen's analysis and focus is precise. Her only failure throughout her doctorial thesis is making a connection between Slovakia's long history of foreign occupation and oppression and the passive, pastoral character and nature of her people that has made her an easy victim and target over the centuries. It can be argued that this passive character is a consequence of centuries of external oppression or a manifestation of something deeper that has been at the core of the Slovak character since the 9th century.