Articulating the free market


“Revival of the 1990s?”

Watch the live recording of A2larm’s podcast POP entitled “Revival of the 1990s?” (in Czech). Podcast hosts Táňa Zabloudilová and LP Fish spoke to Veronika Pehe and literary critic Eva Klíčová about the current popularity of 1990s popular culture and what kind of memory of the postsocialist transformation is created by popular TV series, films and literary works.

Industries, Institutions and Everyday Cultures in Transformation

23 October 2020, online event

The transformation from planned to market economies in Central and Eastern Europe is increasingly becoming a subject of interest not only for economic, but also social and cultural historians. In this workshop, we want to bring historians, sociologists and economists of different disciplines together to ask the simple question: what were the effects of the transformation of the economy on the social and cultural sphere? Looking broadly at industries and institutions – understood both as enterprises and cultural industries – how did the transition to a capitalist model of production affect the work and everyday lives of the actors involved? The aim is to find intersections between the traditional focuses of social and cultural history and to set into conversation scholars working on different national contexts in order to draw comparative conclusions.

Co-organized with Vítězslav Sommer, Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences.


9:30-9:35 Welcome (Veronika Pehe and Vítězslav Sommer)

9:35-10:00 Introductory remarks by Thomas Lindenberger (Hannah-Arendt-Institute for Totalitarianism Studies, Dresden)

10:15-12:00 Panel 1: Changing institutions and values

  • Chair & discussant: Vítězslav Sommer (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Martin Babička (University of Oxford), “‘The Future Is in Your Hands’: Privatization in Czechoslovakia and the Making of a Neoliberal Self”
  • Joanna Rozmus (University of Vienna), “Lost in Transformation(s)? Postsocialism and New Ruralities in Southeastern Poland, 1991-2004”
  • Miroslav Tížik (Institute for Sociology, Slovak Academy of Sciences), “Changing Relations of the State and Churches in Slovakia After 1989 and Transformations of Religiosity”

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-15:00 Panel 2: Privatization and work

  • Chair & discussant: Petr Roubal (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Máté Rigó (Yale NUS College, Singapore/Imre Kertesz Kolleg, Jena) “Selling the Socialist Passport: How Hong Kong’s China Crisis and Hungarian Reform Communists’ Financial
  • Crisis Became Intertwined in 1989”
  • Eszter Bartha (Hannah-Arendt-Institute for Totalitarianism Studies, Dresden), “‘If I Put My Life Together, these Political Waves Brought Me Several Breaks…’: The Heterogenous
  • Working-Class Experience of the Transformation of 1989-1991”
  • Václav Rameš (Charles University) “Between Market without Adjectives and Economic Democracy. The Impact of Different Political Visions on Organizing the Czechoslovak
  • Privatization”
  • Eva Schäffler (Institute for Contemporary History, Munich), “The Threat of Insolvency: Czech Enterprises on their Way from Planned to Market Economy”

15:00-15:15 Coffee Break

15:15-17:00 Panel 3: The field of culture and culture industries

  • Chair & discussant Jan Mervart (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Jindřiška Bláhová (Charles University), “Schizophrenic Pioneers of Late Capitalism: Post- Communist Transformation of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, 1990 – 1995”
  • Olga Gontarska (Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences), “A Victim of the Unfinished Transformation. The Ukrainian Film Industry as a Mirror of the
  • Post-Soviet Absurd”
  • Veronika Pehe (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences), “Postsocialist Cinema Meets the Market: The Case of Czech Republic and Poland”

** With thanks to the Hannah-Arendt-Institute for Totalitarianism Studies, TU Dresden for their support in organizing this workshop.
This workshop is co-funded by the Hannah-Arendt-Institute for Totalitarianism Studies, TU Dresden and financed by the Saxon State government out of the State budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.