“Agency versus/with Structure: On the question of how transformation is enacted” - First Online Workshop 21 - 24 September 2020

When the Legacies-Project (Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam, ZZF) started the preparation for the workshop “Agency versus/with Structure: On the question of how transformation is enacted” at the partner institute Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Corona was not yet an issue. Yet this has proven impossible in current conditions, and we had to move the event into the digital space. The online workshop "Agency versus/with Structure: On the question of how transformation is enacted" will now take place via ZOOM from September 21 - 24, 2020. If you are interested in participating in the workshop or parts of the workshop please register by sending an email to legacies@zzf-potsdam.de

This workshop intends to focus on one of the central theoretical questions posed by our research: in a time of rapid political and ideological change yet substantial continuities in practice and structure what should be privileged in our interpretations: the agency of our historical actors or the customs and norms built up over decades, which guide and frame these actions?

At the workshop ‘Agency versus/with Structure’ to be held digitally from 21 to 24 September 2020 we will discuss this research dilemma both from a theoretical as well as empirical perspective drawing on our own research. We are particularly interested in determining the spaces in which agency could take place and trump/change existing norms and structures and/or the conditions in which actors decide to maintain/conform to existing conditions, hence actively perpetuating entrenched structures. We are aware that in between the two poles there are a number of actions that could be classified as manipulation, subversion or partial acceptance.
A special focus should be placed on the agency of elites – as collectives or as individuals– and their ability to shape the very process of transformation. Additionally, we may reflect upon the mechanisms of interaction between agency and structure and the question what, if anything, was peculiar to them in the times of transformation to post-communism.


PROGRAMME                                                        Please note that the times listed are CEST


Monday 21 September – Panel 1

Welcome and introduction: 9.30 – 10.00 Juliane Fürst and Jan C. Behrends (Potsdam)

Moderator: Balázs Apor (Dublin)

Paper 1: 10.00 – 10.40            Kateryna Chernii (Potsdam): Establishment of Ukrainian Football Championship: Football Federation of Ukraine – between Soviet Legacies and Post-Soviet Challenges (1990-1996

Coffee Break

Paper 2: 10.50 – 11.30            Maren Francke (Potsdam): Coping with the Regime Change: Institutionalization Efforts in the Hungarian University Colleges Movement

Coffee Break

Paper 3 11.40 – 12.20             Astrid Hedin (Malmö): Social Networks as Structures and Agents in Post-Communist Transitions – the Reformation of the SED into the PDS


Tuesday 22 September – Panel 2

Moderator: Jan C. Behrends (Potsdam)

Paper 1: 10.00 – 10.40            Corinna Kuhr-Korolev (Potsdam): Soviet Museums in Times of Change (1986-2000)

Coffee Break

Paper 2: 10.50 – 11.30            Arzuu Sheranova (Budapest): ‘Strongmen’ versus ‘Weak States’ in Central Asia: Evidence from the 2015 Parliamentary Election’s voting Preference in Rural Kyrgyzstan

Coffee Break

Paper 3: 11.40 – 12.20            Adam Hudek (Bratislava): The Afterlife of the Slovak National Communism in the 1990s


Wednesday 23 September – Panel 3

Moderator: Juliane Fürst (Potsdam)

Paper 1: 16.00 – 16.40            Natalia Otrishchenko (Lviv): Connections and Continuance: Urban Planning Education in (Post-­) Socialist Lviv

Coffee Break

Paper 2: 16.50 – 17.30            Sanja Ivanov (Toronto): Agency and Alltag. The Legacies of (Post-) Socialism in Contemporary Europe

Coffee Break

Paper 3: 17.40 – 18.20            Jovana Janinovic (UPJS Kosice, University of Valladolid): Negotiating Urban Memories in Post-Yugoslav Space: Actors, Voices and Manipulations of Communist Legacies


Thursday 24 September – Panel 4

Moderator: tba

Paper 1: 10.00 – 10.40            Ia Eradze (Berlin): The Georgian Central Bank on the Verge of Transition: New Clothes, Old Habits?

Coffee Break

Paper 2: 10.50 – 11.30            Michael Zok (Warsaw): Male Actors Deciding Female Reproduction. Reproductive Rights during Post-Communist Transition in Poland

Coffee Break

11.40 – 12.20                          Final Discussion