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Market Transition, Social Stratification And Culture Shift In Eastern Europe

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Chapter Summary

From 1989 onwards a profound and sometimes heated discussion has been ongoing in the leading sociological journals pertaining to the question of what the largely unintended consequences of this market transition are for social inequality and, more particularly, for systems of social stratification. This market transition debate has put the study of formerly communist countries at the forefront of international sociological research (Nee & Matthews , 1996). This chapter theoretically reconstructs the debate on market transition in Eastern Europe and provides insight into a neglected societal precondition for a successful transition. It reviews the different theoretical perspectives of the participants in the debate. The theoretical perspective of Nee and his co-authors is called new institutionalism (Brinton & Nee , 1998). New institutionalists start from the assumption that capitalist and communist societies not only show phenotypic differences, but also genotypic ones.

Keywords: Eastern Europe; market transition; new institutionalism; social stratification



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