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Viadrina Institute for European Studies (IFES)

History and Background

Challenges of the post-transformation

While our forerunner, the Frankfurt Institute for Transformation Studies, was mainly focused on the transformation processes in Mid-Eastern Europe, the work at the IFES is directed towards Europe as a whole in its multiple social and political complexities and intertwinings. This shift reflects the changing conditions within Europe, as the phase of fundamental and simultaneous transformations of political, legal and economic systems after the post-soviet era seems to be over.   

 The interdisciplinary IFES retained the former focus on Mid- and Eastern Europe and aligns it with substantial requirements of contemporary European Studies. In Mid-Europe and big parts of Southeastern Europe the dominating theme is no longer the transition to democracy but rather the different varieties of a core concept of democracy and market economy. Eastern Europe, on the other hand, faces the social change of post-socialism with constellations that could serve as relevant action approaches for the rest of Europe. Such impetus has to be brought into a productive dialogue with ideas from Western and Southeastern Europe and be integrated into research plans that tackle these processes across disciplines and geographies. Leaving aside the transformation´s concept, which often implies a teleological understanding of the recent historical developments,   research at the IFES aims to highlight the openness and multidirectionality of past and present processes of social, political, cultural, and economic change.