Peripheral Liberalism. New Perspectives on the History of the Liberal Script in the (Post-)Socialist World
Kevin Axe, Tobias Rupprecht, Alice Trinkle
This paper surveys recent literature on the rise of the liberal script in (former) socialist countries. Economic reform debates in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and its successor states, and communist East Asia are currently under revision by scholars of political economy, global history, and neoliberalism. We stake out an emerging research field of the intellectual history of the transformation of the (post-)socialist world with primary source-based literature that firmly places socialist states within global shifts in economics and economic thought that began in the 1970s, thus moving away from a fixation on 1989 and the arrival of foreign advisors as ostensible promoters of a Western liberal script. We suggest the term “peripheral liberalism” for a range of ideas on the market- and individual rights based transformation that emerged in most parts of the socialist world from the 1970s and would have momentous effects on economic reforms and political change.