This book provides an authoritative assessment of the `transitions' or `transformations' currently under way in Central and Eastern Europe. In order to explore this abundant set of diverse and complex processes, it has adopted a particular perspective, which consists of examining the historical specificity of these processes - particularly the simultaneity of political and economic transitions - and, at the same time, how the social sciences have approached and interpreted them and how, in return, they have undergone the impact of these processes. The book offers, on the one hand a number of new substantial insights into these transformations, in particular on the questions of what `democratic consolidations' actually consist of, as well as the political economy, in a strict sense, of these transitions, focusing on the precise characterization of the market economies which have emerged from these processes. On the other hand, it also constitutes an in-depth critical appraisal, unequalled so far, of the methodological principles, models of explanation, and fallacies, of the main approaches or paradigms competing within this research field, especially the `strategic' approach of the classical transitology, and the path dependence approach, with its more avant-garde flavor. Thus, the analyses and discussions presented in this collection of essays exceed widely the empirical fields of East European transformations, and of transitology on the whole; as a result this innovating book should usefully contribute to destabilizing routine ways of thinking of social scientists and students far beyond the communities of specialists in these questions.
Audience: This book will be of interest to academics, researchers, and students in the field of political science, sociology, economics, history, political geography, international affairs, and European and Eastern European studies. In addition specialists, professionals and civil servants of international organizations and public administrators interested in aspects of the economic development, economic aid, and enlargement of the European Union may find this volume invaluable.