Claus Offe has spent most of his career analyzing the inner workings (and nonworkings) of Western democracies. After the upheavals of the late 1980s, however, his attention was drawn increasingly to the East, and particularly to the transformations occurring in the former German Democratic Republic.
The nine essays collected here, all written within the last few years, report what Offe has learned. They explore such topics as the characteristics and shortcomings of state socialist societies and of democratic capitalism, the role of ethnic politics in East European transitions, issues of retribution and restitution in the transition to a democratic society based on a private economy, and the effects the collapse of Communism have had on Western democracies and on the Left in particular. Three essays focus on the "special path" to capitalism followed by the former GDR, including a fascinating comparison between post-1945 West Germany and post-1989 East Germany.
About the Author
Claus Offe has researched and lectured widely throughout Europe and North America and is Professor in the Faculty of Sociology at the University of Bielefeld.