Transitology – scientific theory or ideological construct?

Transitology – scientific theory or ideological construct?

Achkasov V.A.,

Dr. Sci. (Polit. Sci.), Professor, Head of Department of International Political Processes, Faculty of Political Science, St. Petersburg State University.,

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2015.01.03

For citation:

Achkasov V.A. Transitology – scientific theory or ideological construct? – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No. 1. P. 30-37. (In Russ.).


The article argues that the idea of «democratic transition» during the 1990s served in the post-Communist as an intellectual compensation for the collapse of the ideals of socialism. It gave its advocates hope that societies that refused socialist ideas of the welfare state would get the chance to join its capitalist version when running the neoliberal recipes. In fact, it turned out that its practical sense was to ensure maximum transparency of the post-socialist economies and their integration into the global capitalist division of labor as a «supporting cast»: on the one hand, as suppliers of cheap but skilled labour, raw materials and energy, and on the other as markets for Western goods and disposal area for hazardous waste. Thus, at the beginning of the new century it was increasingly noted that the concept of «transition», mobilized in the late 1980s – early 1990s for the analysis of world events and as a base of American policy of «world democratic revolution», was outdated and needed serious revision. The authors who hold this point of view sometimes justifiably criticize modern reality in most countries of the «third wave» as not corresponding even to the minimum criteria of liberal democracy. Today transitology as a subdiscipline studying the trends of diverse political transformations of the turn of the XX – XXI centuries no longer aims at constructing a universal model of democratization. Transition is understood as «a project with an open ending», involving a multiplicity of ways – as of transition and its results. Therefore, the «end of transition paradigm» is not identical to the «end of transitology».

liberal democracy; democratic transition; «world democratic revolution»; «post-Communist world»; «end of transitology».

Content No. 1, 2015

See also:

Kapustin B.G.,
The End of “Transitology”? (Reflecting on the First Post-Communist Decade as Subject of Theoretical Interpretation). – Polis. Political Studies. 2001. No4

Grafov D.B.,
The influence of group loyalty on democratic transit in non-Western societies. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No4

Shestopal A.V.,
The Path to Democracy: Brazilian Experience. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No4

Lebedeva T.P.,
Liberal Democracy as Orienting Objective for Post-Totalitarian Transformations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2004. No2

Grinin L.Ye., Korotaev A.V.,
Revolution vs. Democracy (revolution and conterrevolution in Egypt). – Polis. Political Studies. 2014. No3



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