21.06.2021 - 14:00
On 21 June at 14:00 Juhan Saharov will defend his doctoral thesis “From Economic Independence to Political Sovereignty: Inventing ’Self-Management’ in the Estonian SSR”.
Associate Professor Eva Piirimäe, University of Tartu
Professor Balázs Trencsényi, Central European University (Hungary)
The dissertation develops a novel methodological approach to studying revolutionary processes, highlighting the value of exploring the dynamics of conceptual change in pre-revolutionary transformative moments. It focuses on the case of the Estonian SSR in the early and mid-perestroika period (1985–1988). The dissertation analyzes the changes that took place in the reform socialist discourse in this period, tracing their links to those in broader Soviet, but also in global discourses since the 1960s. At the same time, the dissertation highlights the uniqueness of the Estonian case, exploring the contextual resources that made possible the conceptual innovations that took place there.
The conceptual innovations in Estonia led to the first revolutionary situation (the situation of “dual power”) among the 1989 revolutions in Europe, contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The dissertation’s thesis is that we can identify specific conceptual processes in pre-revolutionary periods through which specific and technical concepts, derived from an expert-language framework, acquire broader resonance and meaning in society, thus contributing to the rise of a revolutionary situation.
The defence will be held on Zoom (link to be announced later).