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Before democracy becomes an institutionalised form of political authority, the rupture with authoritarian forms of power causes deep uncertainty about power and outcomes.

Communism and the emergence of democracy

This book connects the study of democratisation in eastern Europe and Russia to the emergence and crisis of communism. Wydra argues that the communist past is not simply a legacy but needs to be seen as a social organism in gestation, where critical events produce new expectations, memories and symbols that influence meanings of democracy.


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By examining a series of pivotal historical events, he shows that democratisation is not just a matter of institutional design, but rather a matter of consciousness and leadership under conditions of extreme and traumatic incivility. Rather than adopting the opposition between non-democratic and democratic, Wydra argues that the communist experience must be central to the study of the emergence and nature of democracy in post- communist countries.

Review of the hardback: Harald Wydra argues that understanding political transformations needs to take into account the social experiences of people in the chaotic historicity of extraordinary situations.


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  8. Such situations have a logic of their own, which guides action and produces acts of signification that sustain and express the formation of political consciousness. This work represents a major contribution to our understanding of politics in the twentieth century. Without encountering much resistance it exerted a huge impact on many people, even those most opposed to it.

    How was it possible that wide segments of the intellectual elite in Europe and around the world considered this ugly monster as the salvation of mankind? Harald Wydra's book, by his emphasis on the power of symbols and the significance of liminal situations, and especially his innovative anthropology of transformative experiences, brings us much closer to understanding. Placing culture, people and action at center stage, Harald Wydra's analysis is interpretive, scholarly and intelligent. To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.

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    Note you can select to send to either the free. Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service. Book summary views reflect the number of visits to the book and chapter landing pages. This data will be updated every 24 hours. The Experiential Basis of Communism and Democracy: Revolutions, transitions, and uncertainty 3.


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    The political symbolism of communism 4. Experiencing democratic transformations Part II. Critical Events and their Symbolisations: The rise of Bolshevik power 6. The emergence of the Cold War 7.

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    The articulation of dissidence 8. The collapse of communism Part III. Democracy as a Process of Meaning-Formation: The power of memory The future that failed Democracy as a civilising process. Harald Wydra , University of Cambridge This title is available for institutional purchase via Cambridge Core Cambridge Core offers access to academic eBooks from our world-renowned publishing programme.

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    Democracy in Marxism

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    Democracy, Authoritarian Capitalism, and China: Crash Course World History 230

    Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner www. Please see the permission section of the www. Open global navigation Cambridge University Press Academic. Adopting a left libertarian perspective, both the Left Communists and other factions in the Communist Party critiqued the decline of democratic institutions in Russia. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Communism and the emergence of democracy - UCL Discovery

    Part of a series on Marxism Theoretical works. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Economic determinism Historical determinism Historical materialism Marx's method Philosophy of nature. Adorno Herbert Marcuse C. Retrieved 7 March Critique of the Gotha Programme".

    This being the case, we must also recognise the fact that in most countries on the Continent the lever of our revolution must be force; it is force to which we must some day appeal to erect the rule of labour.