Postsocialism and the Afterlives of Revolution

Atanasoski, Neda, and Erin McElroy. “Postsocialism and the Afterlives of Revolution: Impossible Spaces of Dissent.” In Reframing Critical Literary, and Cultural Theories, edited by Nicoletta Pireddu, 273–97. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

McElroy and Atanasoski address postsocialism as an emerging theoretical concept that allows for a novel perspective on the contestations of liberalism and fascism. Focusing on the politics of protest and public space in Romania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, they assess how and why the Cold War is being newly interpellated in the contemporary moment. Romania’s “Light Revolution” and Macedonia’s “Colorful Revolution” protests provide apt case studies for how postsocialist liberalism takes shape against the backdrop of Cold War 2.0, in which socialism and fascism are conflated as illiberal aberrations to be overcome. Rather than fall into stereotypical invocations of Eastern Europe as a space from which to theorize totalitarianism, Atanasoski and McElroy ask what Eastern European postsocialist politics can teach us about the perils of liberalism. They conclude that the reorganization of public space undergirds the conditions of forgetting that enable postsocialist disaster capitalism to flourish, which, as they contend, speaks not just about Eastern European specificity, but more broadly about the contradictions of Euro-American liberalism made apparent in its recent crises.