Liminality and Postcommunism: The Twenty-First Century as the Subject of History
The distinctive political characteristics of the early twenty-first century are beginning to emerge, and these are explored in this paper. First, the exhaustion of the great utopian projects for large-scale social amelioration devised in the previous two centuries creates a new type of temporality, no longer governed by “revolutionary time”. The end of emancipatory revolutionism of the Soviet sort puts an end to the whole era of transcendent revolutionary practices. Second, this new era is characterized by an unprecedented openness, a type of liminality of political options designated by the term krizis, of historical outcomes, but is accompanied by political closure throughout the developed world. Third, the lack of political imagination, in the broadest sense, imbues this period with the possibility of novel types of renewal, but at the same time the agendas of the past have not yet been adequately assessed. In particular, the asymmetrical end of the cold war, in which one side claims a victory that the other side sees as a common achievement, generates tensions in the form of a “cold peace” that are taking traditional geopolitical forms. Thus, while liminality is defined as a period of transition from one condition to another, the world today is unable to take advantage of the unique historical situation at the end of the cold war, and is in danger not only of perpetuating its structures but also of returning the world to a condition of war of all against all, including the consolidation of elite-driven national polities.
Create an Account to Read full Article for free