The International Political Economy of Transition: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The International Political Economy of Transition

1st Edition

By Stuart Shields


192 pages

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Shortlisted for the 2013 BISA IPEG Book Prize, this book explores how Eastern Europe’s post-communist transition can only be understood as part of a broader interrogation of neoliberal hegemony in the global political economy, and provides a detailed historical account of the emergence of neoliberalism in Eastern Central Europe.

Adopting an innovative Gramscian approach to post-communist transition, this book charts the rise to hegemony of neoliberal social forces. Using transition in Poland as a starting point, the author traces how particular social forces most intimately associated with transnational capital successful in the struggle over competing reform strategies. Transition is broken down into three stages; the "first wave" illustrates how the rise of particular social forces shaped by global change gave rise to a neoliberal strategy of capitalism from the 1970s. It goes on to show how the political economy of Europeanization, associated with EU enlargement instilled a "second wave" of neoliberalisation. Finally, exploring recent populist and left wing alternatives in the context of the current financial crisis, the book outlines how counter-hegemonic struggle might oppose a "third wave" neoliberalisation.

The International Political Economy of Transition will be of interest to students and scholars of international political economy, post-communist studies and European politics


This book is shortlisted for the 2013 BISA IPEG Book Prize

"This book is a must read for all those people interested to know why Poland is such a success story - a ‘rising star’ according to international financial media - in the current, crisis-ridden European Union. And why Poland, and other East Central European member states, may very well become next in line in the ongoing sovereign debt crisis." - Otto Holman, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"With his careful historical-structural research, Shields responds in the best of possible ways to stylized transitology and IPE canons. Changing the world may be hard, but neo-Gramscians can most certainly interpret it." - Magnus Ryner, King’s College London, UK.

"Stuart Shields' new book provides an exemplary model of how to formulate and use a critical IPE approach to understanding significant contemporary developments. Although the subject of his book is the political economy of post-communist transition in central and eastern Europe, the context is the deep-seated transformations currently underway in the global political economy. His book is empirically rich and theoretically insightful. It takes the debate over the future of neoliberal forms of capitalism to a new level, and will be mandatory reading for all scholars interested in advancing a critical understanding of IPE." - Randall Gemain, Carleton University, Canada.

"Shields has provided a welcome and highly informative intervention in the debates on post-communist transition that has the potential to generate new avenues for critical political economy research by instigating an ambitious and much needed project of mapping out a multiplicity of case study contributions from the CEE region and beyond…this book is a contribution that transgresses disciplinary boundaries and will be of great appeal to those concerned with the themes of European political economy, international relations, area studies and sociology." - Jokubas Salyga, University of Nottingham, Europe-Asia Studies

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Contextualizing post-communist transition. 2. Theorizing the international political economy of post-communist transition. 3. Towards passive revolution: The making of modern Eastern Central Europe. 4. The emergence of neoliberal social forces in the struggle for hegemony. 5. From shock therapy to Europeanization: Neoliberalization through depoliticization 6. Counter hegemonic social forces in post communist transition 7. Conclusion: Beyond transition? Beyond the transnational?

About the Author

Stuart Shields teaches International Political Economy at the University of Manchester

About the Series

RIPE Series in Global Political Economy

For almost two decades now, the RIPE Series published by Routledge has been an essential forum for cutting-edge scholarship in International Political Economy. The series brings together new and established scholars working in critical, cultural and constructivist political economy. Books in the RIPE Series typically combine an innovative contribution to theoretical debates with rigorous empirical analysis.

The RIPE Series seeks to cultivate:

  • Field-defining theoretical advances in International Political Economy
  • Novel treatments of key issue areas, both historical and contemporary, such as global finance, trade, and production
  • Analyses that explore the political economic dimensions of relatively neglected topics, such as the environment, gender relations, and migration
  • Accessible work that will inspire advanced undergraduates and graduate students in International Political Economy.

James Brassett – Warwick

Eleni Tsingou – Copenhagen Business School

Susanne Soederberg – Queen’s

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General