Social Movements and the Challenges to State Socialism in Central and Eastern Europe
27 March 2020
Following the dramatic events of 1989, the political landscape looked significantly different and continued to be in flux throughout 1990. The German Democratic Republic held its first (and final) democratic election in March 1990, setting a path that ultimately led to reunification in October that year. In June 1990, the holding of parliamentary elections in Czechoslovakia confirmed the outcome of the previous year’s Velvet Revolution. And in Poland, the country’s political transformation was symbolised by the election of Solidarność founder Lech Wałęsa to the presidency in December 1990. Throughout the year, challenges to the status quo in the Soviet Union came from a variety of national, political and environmental movements, extending into many aspects of everyday life.
Thirty years on from these seismic changes, our conference intends to offer a fresh assessment of the way in which communist rule was being contested before the collapse of state socialism. We are particularly interested in the ways that social movements and transnational actors challenged the existing systems and power relations. We invite proposals on different countries in the region, with a focus on movements and events in the 1970s and/or 1980s.