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Transformation and space in Central and Eastern Europe

By F. E. Ian Hamilton

Abstract

The paper discusses aspects of the debate concerning transition and transformation in Central and Eastern Europe. The author argues that the re-evaluation of space in the region is being articulated through the interaction of three major processes: first, progress from centralized state management towards a market economy; second, behaviour, cultures and institutions inherited from the socialist era and those more deeply embedded from pre-socialist times; and third, responses to opportunities or constraints created by the transformation itself. While de-industrialization, unemployment, inflation and currency depreciation were predictable, a significant divergence is occurring between Central Europe and the Baltic states which have achieved an economic U-turn as a result of real growth associated with further progress towards a market economy and south-eastern Europe and the CIS where decline continues. The commodification of space and its resources is diffusing eastwards, leading to a displacement of use-value by exchange value. Regional and local patterns, however, are becoming 'mosaic-like' as a result of the co- existence of commodification, state-protected enterprises, the rise of barter and growth of information activities. A predominantly bi-lateral east-west pattern of spatial interaction is being replaced by a multi-polar one

Topics: GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Publisher: Wiley
Year: 1999
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:7101
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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