Sociology in Central and Eastern Europe 1945-1989
Totalitarian Experience and Knowledge Production examines, in a comparative perspective, sociology as practiced in six European Communist countries marked by various forms of totalitarianism in the period 1945-1989. In contrast to normative sociology’s view that such coexistence is essentially impossible, the author argues that sociology could function in these undemocratic societies insofar as sociologists succeeded in establishing relatively autonomous institutional and cognitive zones. Based on the self-reflection of scholars who had practiced their profession during that period, the book reveals the tribulations of the scientific identity of sociology under the specific social-political conditions of totalitarian societies. It becomes evident that the basic principle that made sociological knowledge possible was freedom of thought in search for scientific truth despite the ‘truth’ imposed by political authority.
Svetla Koleva, DSc (2017), is Research Director at the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She has published numerous articles and six books, including Sociology as a Project. Scientific Identity and Social Challenges in Bulgaria, 1945-1989 (Pensoft, 2005, in Bulgarian), Sociology in Bulgaria through the Eyes of Generations. Interviews with Bulgarian Sociologists (Pensoft, 2012, in Bulgarian, co-editor). She edited the special issue of Sociological Problems on ‘Non Hegemonic Sociologies: From Contexts to Practices’ (2015) and co-edited the issue on ‘New Objects of Sociology’ for Cahiers de Recherche Sociologique (2016, no. 59-60).
All interested in the contexts and modalities of sociology in post-1945 Communist Europe, its institutional and cognitive development, and, seen through its disciplinary history, how it was able to function in totalitarian Communist societies.
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