Introduction: 1989 and Beyond: The Future of Democratic Politics (II)
The latest two issues of the Journal, for the Fall and Winter of 2009, have been published in a span of time that coincides—almost to the month—with the events twenty years ago that peacefully transformed political rule in East and Central Europe, and that launched democratic aspirations in many other parts of the world.
Twenty years after those events we are pleased to present you with a set of critical reflections on key facets of the democratic transformations in the region and beyond, starting with the memorable Fall of Nations in 1989 that marked—as Jonathan Schell put it—The End of the Empire. Among the authors in this second issue are academics and intellectuals who are also practitioners, people deeply invested in the democratic project, who examine here some more of the key challenging dimensions of the transformation: constitution-making (Andrew Arato, Péter Molnár), local self-governance (Joanna Regulska), and media (Monroe Price), as well as the contentious issues of class (David Ost), gender (Zora Butorova and Shireen Hassim), nation (Mara Lazda), and the politics of the past (Adam Michnik). We conclude the issue with a reflection that links the 1989 politics of hope in East and Central Europe with the most recent political developments in the United States (Jeffrey Goldfarb).
As was the case in the previous issue of the Journal, the contributors are indeed international (American, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, South African), and most of the contributions were prepared for a conference organized in April 2008 at the New School for Social Research by its Transregional Center for Democratic Studies in collaboration with the European-based Research Network 1989.