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On Baltic Slovenia and Adriatic Lithuania
A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Patterns in Post-Communist Transformation

Zenonas Norkus

Zenonas Norkus is professor at the Department of Sociology, VilniusUniversity, Lithuania

A unique application of social science software to generate typology and ranklist of transition models of twenty-nine countries in Europe and Asia, ranging from Estonia to Vietnam, Norkus provides a highly innovative internationally comparative causal analysis of the variation in political and economic outcomes after the first decade of post-communist transformations, using multi-value Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Tosmana programme. The analysis includes a critical revision of received dichotomies (e.g. on gradualism versus “shock therapy”), and contributes to current debates on the varieties of post-communist capitalism.

This conceptual framework is applied in national case studies, searching for reasons behind successes and failures, with special consideration given to the possibility of alternatives to the Lithuanian way, and the challenges of populism in this country’s politics.


List of Figures; List of Tables; Introduction; Part I Patterns of Post -Communist Transformation Chapter 1. The Concept of Post-Communist Transformation 1.1. What Was Communism? 1.2. The Concept of the Exit from Communism 1.3. Conceptual Foundations of the Typology of Paths of Post-Communist Transformation Chapter 2. Orientations and Modes of Post-Communist Transformation 2.1. Orientations of the Exit from Communism: Concepts and Cases 2.2. Economic Modes of the Exit from Communism: Concepts and Cases 2.3. Political Modes of the Exit from Communism: Concepts and Cases Chapter 3. Economic and Political Outcomes of Post-Communist Transformation 3.1. Change and Diversity of Capitalism in the Comparative Economic Sociology and Political Economy 3.2. Rational Entrepreneurial Capitalism in a Post-Communist World 3.3. Political Oligarchic and State Capitalism in the Post-Communist World 3.4. Democracy, Authoritarianism, and Their Adjectives: Outcomes of Political Transformation Chapter 4. Pathways and Patterns of Post-Communist Transformation 4.1. Comparative Qualitative Analysis as a Method of Theory Building 4.2. From Empirically Observed to Counterfactual Ways of Post-Communist Transformation 4.3. All Ways of Post-Communist Transformation Part I I . Capitalism and Democracy in Post -Communist Lithuania : Deepening Comparative Contexts Chapter 5. Why Lithuania “Lagged” Behind Estonia? 5.1. A North-South Gap in the Post-Communist Transformation of the Baltic States as a Problem of Explanation 5.2. An Economic Explanation of Lithuania’s Falling Back 5.3. A Political-Economic Explanation: Does the Blame Lay on Lithuanian Ex-Communists? 5.4. A Culturalist Explanation: “Weber’s Thesis” for the Baltic Countries? 5.5. Latvia and Other Difficulties of the Culturalist Explanation of the Estonia’s Success: Towards Resolution Chapter 6. Between Estonia and Slovenia: Post-Communist Capitalism in Lithuania and Its Prospects 6.1. Baltic States and Slovenia as Extremities of Post-Communist Rational Entrepreneurial Capitalism 6.2. Baltic Capitalism(s) – New Liberal Market Economies Between the Core and Periphery? 6.3. Could Lithuania Have Become the “Baltic Slovenia”? 6.4. How Slovenia Could Have Become the “Adriatic Lithuania” Chapter 7. The Presidential Impeachment as the Stress Test of the Liberal Democracy in Lithuania 7.1. Populism and Perils of Semi-Presidentialism in the Baltics and Central Europe 7.2. Paksasgate Story: Staging, Casting, and Plots about Plots
7.3. Did the Successful Impeachment of Rolandas Paksas Save Liberal Democracy in Lithuania from Breakdown? 7.4. Was it All Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing, or Why Impeachment Did Not Enhance the Quality of Democracy in Lithuania? Concluding Clarifications and Invitations References; Name Index; Subject Index

Published by Apostrofa, Vilnius, distributed by CEU Press
375 pages, 16 illustrations (charts, photo etc.), 2012
$60.00 / €55.00 / £50.00 cloth

"Overall, the author deserves credit for transparency when it comes to presenting the input and underlying assumptions of the analysis. This transparency should allow for a replication of the study. It even provides the reader with the opportunity to experiment with the input, assumptions etc. in order to gain an understanding of the mechanisms driving the results.
The book provides an intriguing and fascinating analysis seen through the eyes of a ‘cousin’ in the field of the social sciences, generously providing us with new insights, challenging our views and contributing to the (never-ending) discussion of gradualism versus shock therapy". - Baltic Journal of Economics

"According to Norkus, the notion of transition implies movement from the point A to point B. Post-communist transformations, Norkus argues, do not follow the path of transition, because the intent driving these transformations was not to reach a certain final point, but to escape from the disastrous consequences of the communist experience. In every ex-communist country, multiple opinions of the ideal “point B” appeared and their number and variety increased as the newly liberated societies gained more and more experience of transformation. Instead of attempting to fit this diversity into a unified model of transition, Norkus embraces the comparative perspective. He defines the subject of his study – and probably also redefines the subject of the studies of post-communism in general – not as transition, but as an exit from Communism". - Baltic Journal of Political Science

"The book is not only innovative from the theoretical perspective, but from the methodological one, too. Most transitologists whose focus of analysis is on democratisation and marketisation use quantitative methods that have proven insufficient for explaining the different transitions. Accordingly, Norkus makes an important contribution to the literature dealing with exits from communism. - Teorija in Praksa

In this rich book Zenonas Norkus aims to develop a general theory of patterns of post-communist transitions, constructed using the method of multi-value comparative qualitative analysis. He goes to great lengths to avoid the teleological traps of transitology in explaining the ’entire spectrum of economic and political outcomes of post-communist transformation’. Even more ambitiously, the author aims to explicate the entire spectrum of political and economic outcomes of the post-socialist transformations. Norkus complements an impressive methodological display with in-depth historical inquiries.
In sum, this book represents an important step forward for the scholarship on post-communist transitions. - Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review

"„Der Fuchs weiß viele Dinge, aber der Igel weiß eine große Sache“ – hat einmal der griechische Dichter Archilochos, der im 7. Jahrhundert vor unserer Zeitrechnung lebte, gesagt. Nach der Interpretation von Isaiah Berlin versucht der Igel, Verbindungen herzustellen und sie in ein bestimmtes Denkmuster einzufügen. Der Igel betrachtet die Dinge aus dem Blickwinkel eines übergreifenden Prinzips und misst ihre Bedeutung an diesem Prinzip, wohingegen der Fuchs sich für die Dinge um ihrer selbst willen interessiert.
Der litauische Soziologe Zenonan Norkus will zugleich der Igel und der Fuchs sein – der Igel, weil er den Anspruch erhebt, eine umfassende Theorie der Transformationsprozesse nach 1989/1990 darzulegen, die die ost-, ostmittel- und südosteuropäischen Staaten ebenso wie den Kaukasus und Zentral- bzw. Ostasien
umfassen soll; der Fuchs, weil er einer speziellen Fragestellung folgt und beantworten will, warum Litauen dabei nicht so erfolgreich war wie Slowenien." - Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte

"Norkus’ Transformationsmodell klassifiziert auch Reformen in nominell noch immer kommunistischen Staaten, so wie China oder Vietnam, als Teile eines Transformationsprozesses. Somit erlaubt die These des „exit from communism“ dem Zeithistoriker, die Chronologie der Transformation in Ostmittel- und Osteuropa zu überdenken und einen Zusammenhang mit den marktwirtschaftlichen Reformen im Spätsozialismus herzustellen.
Die umfangreichen Studien von Zenonas Norkus zum Thema der politischen und ökonomischen Transformation im postsozialistischen Raum zeichnen sich durch ein hohes Maß an Interdisziplinarität aus. Entsprechend bietet die Vielfalt an vergleichenden Perspektiven, die er kombiniert, um zu einer möglichst genauen Typologisierung der litauischen Transformation zu gelangen, eine Fülle interessanter Informationen über Litauens jüngste Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, die sicherlich das Interesse einer breiten Leserschaft weckt." - Forschungen zur baltischen Geschichte

List of reviews in academic journals:

  • Li Bennich-Björkman (Uppsala university), Journal of Baltic Studies, 2012, 43(4): 555-558.
  • Anders Paalzow (Stockholm School of Economics, Riga), Baltic Journal of Economics, 2013,13(2):129–132.
  • Tõnis Saarts and Erik Terk (Institute of Political Science and Governance, Tallinn University), „Histories wit Communism and Post-Communism – the Pathways in and the Pathways out“,European Societies, 2014, 16(3):471-475.
  • Ellu Saar ir Marge Unt (Institute of International and Social Studies, Tallinn University), „Variations in Post-Communist Europe: a Worthwhile Addition“, Studies of Transition States and Societies2014, 6(2): 68-70.
  • Lars Fredrick Stöcker (Uppsala University), Forschungen zur Baltischen Geschichte, 2014 (9):391-395.
  • Marharyta Fabrykant (Belarus’ State Universitety), „Zenonas Norkus, On Baltic Slovenia and Adriatic Lithuania“, Baltic Journal of Political Science. 2014 3: 149-152.
  • Andrey Rezaev ir Valentin Starikov (Sankt Peterburgo universiteto Sociologijos fakultetas), “Kačestvennyj sravnitel’nyj analiz postkommunističeskich transformacij [Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Post-Communist Transformations]”, Žurnal sociologii i social‘noj antropologii [Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 2014, 17(2): 206-213.
  • Izabela Desperak (Institute of Sociology, University of Lodz), „Jakościowo o politycznych transformacjach, czyli czy możliwe są bałtycka Słowenia i adriatycka Litwa [Qualitatively on the Political Transformations, or Whether Baltic Slovenia and Adriatic Lithuania are Possible]“, Przegląd Socjologii Jakościowej2014, 10(4): 130-133.
  • Krzysztof Brzechczyn (Adam Mickiewicz University in Wroclaw), „Wzorce postkomunistycznej transformacji. Artykul recenzyjny [Patterns of Post-communist Transformation. A Review]“,Czasopismo Środkowoeuropejskie Studia Polityczne, 2014, 4: 231-241.
  • Kuokštis, Vytautas (Vilnius University), „Bendroji pokomunistinės transformacijos teorija [General Theory of Post-communist Transformation]“, Politologija, 2014, 3 (75): 139-144.
  • Tomas Kavaliauskas (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas) „Apie Zenono Norkaus teleologinį mąstymą klausiant: ar Vidurio Europoje pokomunistinė transformacija jau užbaigta? [On the Teleological Thought of Zenonas Norkus Wondering: Whether the Postcommunist Transformation of Central Europe is already Complete]“, Darbai ir Dienos [Deeds and Days], 2012,  58: 323-335.
  • Malewska, Alicja (Jagiellonian University in Kraków), Politeja - Pismo Wydzialu Studiow Miedzynarodowych i Politycznych Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego, 2013, 25: 585-594