Dienstag, 7. Januar 2020

Communist Regime Travel Controls as State Capacity in Everyday World Politics: The East German Example

APIR seminar with Astrid Hedin (Malmö University)

We cordially invite you to the next session of our workshop series on Authoritarian Politics and International Relations at WZB. 

Astrid Hedin will present her paper on 'Communist regime travel controls as state capacity in everyday world politics: the East German example'.  

In her talk, she will focus on how, during the Cold War, communist regimes built and institutionalized an encompassing administrative state capacity to control and shape micro-level professional contacts with the West. This extensive but secret system of coercion was brought to light only with the opening of former communist regime archives. Effectively, the travel cadre system may not only have delayed the demise of Soviet bloc communism, by isolating the population from Western influences. It was also intended to serve as a vehicle for discursive influence of Soviet type regimes on the West. Hedin presents one of the first and most detailed English language maps over the administrative routines of a communist regime travel cadre system, based on the East German example. Furthermore, drawing on social mechanisms methodology, I set up a micro-level 'how it could work' scheme over how travel cadre systems can be understood as state capacity, unique to totalitarian regimes, to help sway political discourse in open societies.    

The paper is available here

The seminar series aims at bringing together scholars from Comparative Politics and International Relations. We invite papers combining comparative authoritarianism and IR, as well as contributions that help clarify important theoretical concepts and empirical patterns in either discipline. Colleagues interested in presenting in the workshop series should email Alex Tokhi (alexandros.tokhi [at] wzb.eu) or Alex Schmotz (alexander.schmotz [at] wzb.eu).

When: Once a month on a Tuesday afternoon (see dates below)

Where: WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin

What: A classic format: 90 minute research seminar with one paper presentation (15 min), one discussant (10), and plenty of time for Q&A

Who: All scholars from WZB and the Berlin area and anyone interested in authoritarian politics and/or international relations

You can find the next sessions here.

Organized by Alexandros Tokhi (Department of Global Governance) and Alexander Schmotz (Department of Democracy & Democratisation)