Capitalism, Communism . . . And Colonialism? Revisiting 'Transitology' as the Ideology of Informal Empire
Global Jurist, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2009
37 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2010 Last revised: 21 Sep 2010
Date Written: 2009
In the context of international law, “transitology” is often used to describe the literature surrounding the former Soviet Union (fSU) and the subsequent reform attempts by Western and Eastern/Central European market reformers. While it is often acknowledged there have been other “waves” of transition, this literature typically asserts that the situation in the fSU is somehow distinct in human history, and thus, to a large extent, unmixable with other past “transition” histories.
Likewise, the story of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, and the subsequent reforms in its aftermath, largely avoid the radar of critical colonial discourses. In short, there is almost no effort to link the fSU to the 19th century colonial project of Western European states, in particular the story of informal empire. This article seeks to re-frame the post-communist transition debate in terms of the broader international challenges of decolonization, “neo-colonialism,” and informal empire building in the West, the former Soviet Union, as well as between the two in the post Soviet space.
Keywords: Transitology, Transition, Russia, Colonialism, Capitalism, Washington Consensus, Shock Therapy, USSR, Post-Soviet
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