1989 After 1989: Rethinking the Fall of State Socialism in Global Perspective

I am working as a research assistant for prof. James Mark in his Leverhulme Trust-funded international research project, 1989 After 1989: Rethinking the Fall of State Socialism in Global Perspective running from 2014-2018 at the University of Exeter. Actually this work is also connected to another project, Socialism Goes Global funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, which also runs from 2014-2018, but in a larger collaboration of institutions: the Universities of Belgrade, Columbia, Exeter, Leipzig, Oxford, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and University College London.

Our research looks at the role of socialist countries and Comecon, specifically the Eastern European bloc in shaping globalization. Recently we have studied materials on global trade, diplomatic negotiations, bilateral and multilateral agreements, and international organizations. Our main thematic interests are:

  • The history of world-systems theory as a framework of analysis in Hungary.
  • The concept of interdependency as used by Hungarian economists (e.g. József Bognár, Mihály Simai).
  • Knowledge produced and institutional efforts on the global economy, global trade relations and “globalization”.
  • The changing conceptions of the “global”, the global economy, global relations and globalization.
  • Participation and debates in international organizations (UN, UNCTAD, GATT, IMF).
  • Foreign economic agreements with Western and developing countries.
  • Hungarian plans and actions for adapting foreign development models.

As an assistant, I am working together with a good friend of mine, András Pinkasz. We know each other from the Working Group for Public Sociology “Helyzet”. He is a PhD Candidate at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and is a historian of economics and an expert on Comecon. Both of us are interested in approaches to the history and sociology of scientific knowledge, political economy and specifically world-systems analysis in understanding the history of the Hungarian semi-periphery and its dependent development. Our working group has previously published on this in the 21st issue edited by us in Fordulat (2014).

Since 2015 November, I’ve been collecting archival materials, journal articles and books for the project. Our main focus is on the 1960s and 1970s. We have looked through materials based at Corvinus University (former Karl Marx University of Economics), namely the documents of the economic historian, department head and dean Pál Zsigmond Pach. Most materials are still being collected from two departments of the National Archives (Budapest), and these are archival documents of the National Planning Office’s relevant institutes and offices.