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Illiberal deliberation: Communist regime travel controls as state capacity in everyday world politics
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government. Malmo Univ, Polit Sci & Publ Adm, Global Polit Studies, Malmo, Sweden;Lund Univ, Dept Polit Sci, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden;Swedish Res Council, Stockholm, Sweden;Stanford Univ, Europe Ctr, Freeman Spogli Inst Int Studies, Stanford, CA 94305 USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8498-6529
2019 (English)In: Cooperation and Conflict, ISSN 0010-8367, E-ISSN 1460-3691, Vol. 54, no 2, p. 211-233Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Much social theory takes for granted that transnational people-to-people dialogue is inherently liberal in process and content - a haven of everyday authenticity that shelters ideas of human rights and democratic reform. In contrast, this contribution shows how communist regimes built and institutionalised an encompassing administrative state capacity to control and shape micro-level professional contacts with the West. This extensive but secret system of coercion, which was brought to light only with the opening of former communist regime archives, set a markedly illiberal framework for everyday East-West deliberations during the Cold War. 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 the discursive influence of Soviet type regimes on the West. The article provides one of the first and most detailed English language maps of the administrative routines of a communist regime travel cadre system, based on the East German example. Furthermore, drawing on social mechanisms methodology, the article sets up a micro-level 'how it could work' scheme over how travel cadre systems can be understood as a state capacity, unique to totalitarian regimes, to help sway political discourse in open societies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD , 2019. Vol. 54, no 2, p. 211-233
Keywords [en]
Cold War, everyday life, state capacity, strategic narratives, travel cadre
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-387937DOI: 10.1177/0010836718815522ISI: 000469829600006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-387937DiVA, id: diva2:1331115
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilAvailable from: 2019-06-26 Created: 2019-06-26 Last updated: 2019-06-26Bibliographically approved

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Hedin, Astrid

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