Subversive Institutions

The Design and the Destruction of Socialism and the State

Subversive Institutions

Based on a series of controlled comparisons among regimes and states, Valerie Bunce's book argues that two factors account for the remarkable collapse of the socialist dictatorships in Europe from 1989-1992: the institutional design of socialism as a regime, a state and a bloc, and the rapid expansion during the 1980s of opportunities for domestic and international change. Together, these two factors explain not just why socialist regimes and states ended, but also why the process was peaceful in some cases and violent in others.


"...this book answers the question of our age and provides an eminently worthy target to shoot at." Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs

"Bunce's story is a complicated one, but that, in fact, is part of the message of her book: that parsimony in explaining macrolevel historical change may come at the cost of cutting out precisely those variables that need attention...The real value of her account is its concretizin exactly what the much-discussed "communist legacies" really are." World Politics 53

"The arguments presented in the book bear upon a larger circle of issues in the study of comparative transitions from socialism." Slavic and East European Journal

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