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Communist Parties Revisited

Socio-Cultural Approaches to Party Rule in the Soviet Bloc, 1956-1991

Edited by RĂ¼diger Bergien and Jens Gieseke

418 pages, 28 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-776-5 $130.00/£92.00 Hb Not Yet Published (January 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-777-2 eBook Not Yet Published


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The ruling communist parties of the postwar Soviet Bloc possessed nearly unprecedented power to shape every level of society; perhaps in part because of this, they have been routinely depicted as monolithic, austere, and even opaque institutions. Communist Parties Revisited takes a markedly different approach, investigating everyday life within basic organizations to illuminate the inner workings of Eastern Bloc parties. Ranging across national and transnational contexts, the contributions assembled here reconstruct the rituals of party meetings, functionaries’ informal practices, intra-party power struggles, and the social production of ideology to give a detailed account of state socialist policymaking on a micro-historical scale.

Rüdiger Bergien is Privatdozent at the Humboldt University Berlin and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam. His many publications include, most recently, Im Generalstab der Partei: Organisationskultur und Herrschaftspraxis in der SED-Zentrale (1946-1989) (2017).

Jens Gieseke is head of the research department “Communism and Society” at the Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany. His most recent publications include The History of the Stasi: East Germany’s Secret Police, 1945–1990 (2014) and as co-editor, The Silent Majority in Communist and Post-Communist States: Opinion Polling in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (2016).

Subject: Postwar History
Area: Central/Eastern Europe

BISAC: HIS032000 HISTORY/Europe/Russia & the Former Soviet Union; HIS010010 HISTORY/Europe/Eastern; POL015000 POLITICAL SCIENCE/Political Process/Political Parties

BIC: HBTW The Cold War; HBTB Social & cultural history




Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements

Introduction: Communist Parties Revisited: Socio-Cultural Approaches to Party Rule in the Soviet Bloc, 1956-1991
Rüdiger Bergien and Jens Gieseke

Chapter 1. The Paradox of Party Discipline in the Khrushchev-Era Communist Party
Edward Cohn

Chapter 2. "It is not possible to allow past mistakes to come again." Recruitment Policy in the CPCS in the 1970s and 1980s
Michel Christian

Chapter 3. Behind Closed Doors: The Erosion of SED Party Life in the 1980s
Sabine Pannen

Chapter 4. The Successive Dissolution of the “Uncivil Society.” Tracking SED Party Members in Opinion Polls and Secret Police Reports, 1969–1989
Jens Gieseke

Chapter 5. On the Way to Party Pluralism? The PZPR and the Reform of the Socialist Party System in 1988–1989
Frédéric Zalewski

Chapter 6. Communist Party Apparatuses as Steering Organizations: Paths of Development in East Central Europe
Christoph Boyer

Chapter 7. The Central Committee Department of Party Organs under Khrushchev
Alexander Titov

Chapter 8. True Believers Becoming Funded Experts? Personnel Profile and Political Power in the SED Central Committee’s Sectoral Apparatus, 1946–89
Rüdiger Bergien

Chapter 9. Paternalism in Local Practice: The Logic of Repression, Ideological Hegemony and the Everyday Management of Society in an SED Local Secretariat
Andrea Bahr

Chapter 10. The SED Bezirk Secretaries as Brokers of Territorial Interests in the GDR
Jay Rowell

Chapter 11. The Idea of Social Unity and its Influence on the Mechanisms of a Totalitarian Regime in the Years 1956–1980
Krzysztof Dąbek

Chapter 12. Foreign Policymaking and Party-State Relations in the Soviet Union during the Brezhnev Era
Mark Kramer

Chapter 13. Erich Honecker - The “Leading Representative.” A Generational Perspective
Martin Sabrow

Chapter 14. Inside the System The CPSU Central Committee, Mikhail Gorbachev’s Komanda and the End of Communist Rule in Russia.
Jan C. Behrends

Chapter 15. The Ironies of Membership: The Ruling Communist Party in Comparative Perspective
Padraic Kenney

Index

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