Physical Violence and State Legitimacy in Late Socialism – An International Research Network

This historical research network on violence after Stalinism includes researchers and PhD-students at Potsdam’s Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF) as well as post-doc fellows from Central and Eastern Europe and senior fellows from various universities and institutes. It is generously funded by the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft. The project is hosted by the ZZF in co-operation with the Institute for Southeast European Studies in Regensburg, the Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for European History and Public Spheres in Vienna and the European University Institute in Florence. Several other Institutes are also related to the project (please see partner institutes). Twice a year the project invites Visiting Fellows to join the project for two months. The three-year project started its work in April 2011.

The network investigates the relationship between physical violence and state legitimacy in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, addressing the following questions: How did the state control violence after Stalin? How did political legitimation change after 1956? How were these changes related to the repression and to the use of violent force? To what extent did physical violence disappear from politics? How was physical violence in the private sphere dealt with? Did these changes contribute to the decline of communism?

The project’s international research network of scholars seeks to contribute to the ongoing debates about the nature of communist dictatorships and to the causes of the European revolutions of 1989 and the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its aim is to strengthen international co-operation and support comparative and transnational research in the field of communist studies.

For further information please have a look at the individual research projects of the group.