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Publisher Description

The dissolution of the Soviet Union was a world-historical event. Understanding rare events is notoriously difficult. What is it a case of? With what should it be compared? How can it be explained? My approach to these questions is grounded in my disciplinary background in sociology and my interest in the cultural mechanisms that drive systemic change. A cultural approach, rooted in the logic of process-tracing, helps both to define the object of interest--what exactly ended, if indeed it is over--and to understand what happened to it. The title of this article reflects the choices I made in cutting into the enormous literature on this subject. First, I follow Stephen Cohen's lead in using the term "end" rather than "collapse" to define the historical process of interest. Collapse, he maintains, implies "inherently terminal causes.... If we ask instead how and why the Union was abolished, dissolved, disbanded, or simply ended, the formulation leaves open the possibility that contingencies or subjective factors may have been the primary cause and therefore that a different outcome was possible." (1) Imagining different possible outcomes is at the core of counterfactual reasoning, a method that enables us to explain rare events by analyzing sequences of events within cases and identifying mechanisms that make causal arguments theoretically plausible. (2) The term "end" rather than "collapse" also opens the possibility of a prolonged process, brought about by human agency rather than a natural cataclysm. (3)

GENRE
History
RELEASED
2011
September 22
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
28
Pages
PUBLISHER
Slavica Publishers, Inc.
SELLER
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.
SIZE
192.7
KB

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