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Looking West: Détente, the Socialist Regimes and Their Opening to the Globalizing Market Economy

Dates:
  • Wed 22 Mar 2017 15.30 - 17.00
  Add to Calendar 2017-03-22 15:30 2017-03-22 17:00 Europe/Paris Looking West: Détente, the Socialist Regimes and Their Opening to the Globalizing Market Economy

Throughout the 1970s - against the background of East-West détente and incipient globalization - the European Socialist élites had to work out complex ideological, economic, and political issues originating from their attempts at integrating in the world economy, deepening their rapprochement with Western Europe and dealing with the commercial giant next door, the European Community. Their choices had momentous consequences. Exploring the origins of 1989, several historians now argue that those regimes negotiated their own demise, constrained by the “kiss of debt” (S. Kotkin) and unable to sustain a competition redefined along metrics of Western capitalism.

The ERC-funded project “Looking West” seeks to provide a historical appraisal of the late Socialist élites’ views of their countries’ place and prospects in an emerging space of trans-European connections. The latter presented them with new patterns of exchange and potential regional integration while challenging existing configurations of stability, political control and ideological self-legitimization. We are particularly interested in exploring how the elites of the European socialist regimes conceived and rationalised their increasing economic exchanges with, and deepening financial dependence from, Western Europe. How did they envisage their place and role in a potentially pan-European co-operative framework? How did they plan to reconcile transformation with stability, and control the consequences of a less protected and self-enclosed environment? Were they simply driven by short-term economic goals and constraints or did they also imagine a long-term mutual opening and convergence? What views of Western Europe, and specifically of the European Economic Community (EEC), did they elaborate as co-operation intensified? Above all, how did they envision the interaction between adjacent and overlapping spaces shaped by contrasting logics: the socialist bloc and West European integration, ideological rivalry and a new rhetoric of collaboration, important bilateral relations and emerging multilateral frameworks?

Sala degli Anelli 1st Floor, V.Sa. DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala degli Anelli 1st Floor, V.Sa.

Throughout the 1970s - against the background of East-West détente and incipient globalization - the European Socialist élites had to work out complex ideological, economic, and political issues originating from their attempts at integrating in the world economy, deepening their rapprochement with Western Europe and dealing with the commercial giant next door, the European Community. Their choices had momentous consequences. Exploring the origins of 1989, several historians now argue that those regimes negotiated their own demise, constrained by the “kiss of debt” (S. Kotkin) and unable to sustain a competition redefined along metrics of Western capitalism.

The ERC-funded project “Looking West” seeks to provide a historical appraisal of the late Socialist élites’ views of their countries’ place and prospects in an emerging space of trans-European connections. The latter presented them with new patterns of exchange and potential regional integration while challenging existing configurations of stability, political control and ideological self-legitimization. We are particularly interested in exploring how the elites of the European socialist regimes conceived and rationalised their increasing economic exchanges with, and deepening financial dependence from, Western Europe. How did they envisage their place and role in a potentially pan-European co-operative framework? How did they plan to reconcile transformation with stability, and control the consequences of a less protected and self-enclosed environment? Were they simply driven by short-term economic goals and constraints or did they also imagine a long-term mutual opening and convergence? What views of Western Europe, and specifically of the European Economic Community (EEC), did they elaborate as co-operation intensified? Above all, how did they envision the interaction between adjacent and overlapping spaces shaped by contrasting logics: the socialist bloc and West European integration, ideological rivalry and a new rhetoric of collaboration, important bilateral relations and emerging multilateral frameworks?


Location:
Sala degli Anelli 1st Floor, V.Sa.

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Speaker:
Federico Romero (EUI - HEC)

Organiser:
Prof. Luca Molà (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Prof. Corinna Ruth Unger (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
 
 

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