An Uncharted Transition focuses on the western Balkans and east-central Europe in an integrated approach attempting to evidence the main trends, review the variety of interacting trajectories and offer new insights. This essay sheds new light on some key issues such as transition, integration, democratization, the east-west divide and the core-periphery gap. Its ambition is to highlight systemic change, to acknowledge the hybridization of structural factors and individual ones, to identify the oscillation between formality and informality, consolidation and deconsolidation, democratization and de-democratization.
The author argues, first, that transition — characterized by instability, movement, alterations and ruptures — becomes the rule of any society, not exclusively of that of “transitional societies”. And, secondly, away from the sequencing theorized in democratization studies, transition points tentatively – beyond the post-Wall period – to a new era: an Age of Transition characterized by uncertainty as well as by movement that empowers a society creatively to self-constitute. Accordingly,
democracy is framed as an open-ended process, “under construction,” constantly interrogating itself.
An Uncharted Transition invites a conquering of the new lands of democracy with forward-looking analyses based on a substantial number of sources in multiple languages. It presents if not a manifesto then a wake-up call to those involved in shaping how Europe, central and eastern Europe specifically, could be in the future.
Pierre Soulages, Painting 74 x 165 cm, 5 June 2020. Private collection (c) Adagp Paris 2023