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Kührer-Wielach, Florian and Lemmen, Sarah (2016): Transformation in East Central Europe: 1918 and 1989. A Comparative Approach. In: European Review of History-Revue Europeenne D Histoire, Vol. 23, No. 4: pp. 573-579

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The authors of the introduction to this special issue argue for a historicization of the concept of transformation by broadening our understanding of it to decrease its teleological spin. This allows us to discard the zero hour narrative and to rather consider phenomena that exist long before a turn or revolution accelerates the transformation process. The closely related terms of continuity and discontinuity can be relieved of their mandatory dialectical logic by introducing the concept of adaptation as an analytical instrument in order to explain what happens after a certain turning point. Consequently, a historicization of the concept of transformation, as the briefly presented case studies show, entails detachment from apodictic periodization and the narration of quasi-mechanized progress in order to specify every single field of accelerated change. However, this does not necessarily limit the usefulness of the concept, as examining individual cases using specific criteria and comparing and bundling them will contribute to a better understanding of societies in transformation as a whole.

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