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When did 1989 end?

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor William Outhwaite



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


As with the 1968 movements in Western Europe and North America and their long-lasting subterranean effects, one can also ask when 1989 ended. A quick answer to the title question would be Christmas 1989, with the execution of the Ceauşescus, or New Year, with the installation of Václav Havel as President. Another would be December 1991, the date of the dissolution of the USSR, which would be more relevant for the post-Soviet space and could perhaps also work as a rough marker for the more protracted political transitions in Romania and Bulgaria. Another would be 2004, with the accession to the European Union of much of post-communist Europe and the prospect of extension of happy-ever-after member-statehood to the south and east. More seriously, we might listen to the calls from a number of experts to stop speaking of the region as post-communist or post-socialist. I suggest that what has ended is the ‘end of history,’ as the victory of democracy turns out for the moment to be one of post-democracy and xenophobic populism across Europe and more widely.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Outhwaite W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Social Science Information

Year: 2020

Volume: 59

Issue: 3

Pages: 425-438

Print publication date: 01/09/2020

Online publication date: 16/07/2020

Acceptance date: 23/04/2020

Date deposited: 07/08/2020

ISSN (print): 0539-0184

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7412

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0539018420936043


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