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Transitology in Post-Communist Societies


Transitology is a unique theoretical direction that explains the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. Being a theoretical concept, transitology guides the “standard fare,” the prevailing “organizing theme,” and the “way of posing questions” (Gans-Morse, 2004, p. 321). It is important to note that in the post-communist region the process of change differs from other forms of transition previously met and considered by social scientists.

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Theoretical Framework

For all post-communist theories, modernization is the basis. Modernization is a model of transition from “traditional” to “modern” society, including urbanization, improvements in education, and new forms of communication technology (Gans-Morse, 2004, p. 321).

Critics Opinion

Critics such as Cohen, Reddaway and Glinski present various points of view for the interpretation and consideration. However, they all agree that transitology is a semblance of modernization and is not justified or constructive. Some authors discuss the theory as an open-ended transformation, while others highlight the theological transmission. Moreover, while having different approaches to post-communism study, scholars agree that existing theories, whether they are transitology, modernization theory, or other approaches, only perform a “starting point at best” (Gans-Morse, 2004, p. 324).

Searching for Transitologists

In post-communism literature, transitology is often referred to as “near orthodoxy, correct line, and hegemonic 131 articles were analyzed in “Searching for Transitologists: Contemporary Theories of Post-Communist Transitions and the Myth of a Dominant Paradigm” with some of them referencing the “regime change, transitions literature and modernization”. The process is sometimes described as “breaking down of authoritarian rule and the creation of a new regime” (Gans-Morse, 2004, p. 331).


In the articles, authors often interpret transitology in different ways and also argue about the analogy of applying the theory to other countries since there is a difference in the transitions of society depending on the country. The main common goal of the discussion is to move from the modernization theory and transitology and build a new theory (Gans-Morse, 2004).


Gans-Morse, J. (2004). Searching for transitologists: Contemporary theories of post-communist transitions and the myth of a dominant paradigm. Post-Soviet Affairs, 20(4), 320-349.

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