Agenda Topics 

Transboundary and Reterritorialization in Eastern Europe during the Great Transition Era: Studies on transition phenomena at Life, Culture and Social Structures 


Agenda Aim 

2019 is a great year to analyze and evaluate the Transition in Eastern Europe; marking 30th and 15th year since the Transition and Convergence into Europe. Former communist countries of the East moved on to democracy and market economy ever since they had let go of 40 years under the communism by 'Velvet Revolution' of 1989, and made it to the integration into Europe. In the meantime, not only Western academia but also Korea, there have been many attempts to figure out the causes of the transition and convergence by analyzing them. However, there never has been single research on the causes, challenges, and achievements of two major transformations in a comprehensive and macroscopic way.


The great transition in Eastern Europe means a system transition – from non-democratic communism to a democratic market economy – and convergence into Europe as a 'one'. The system "transition and integration" is not a separate thing, but a continuous process of political, economic, social and cultural transformation. And these can be summarized as following: from one-party dictatorship to democratic multi-party system; planned economy to a market economy; and Homo-sovieticus to Homo-europenicus.


From this point of view, the aims of our studies on system transition and convergence are the following:

1) Figuring out the challenges and ways to overcome the transition from the old system to the new one by identifying the causes and processes of the great transition in terms of politics, economy, and social order, and their achievements.

2) Analyzing the evolution of human existential life and culture, by looking at the transition and integration of the system from a humanistic perspective, along with the methodological changes in social structure and institutions.

3) Finding lessons and implications necessary for Korean society and establishing a framework for a Korean way of interpretation of the great transition of Eastern Europe on the premise that an analogous situation could occur on the Korean Peninsula.


Therefore, this research will methodologically pursue the 'interdisciplinary studies' between humanities and social sciences. Without being broken into separate disciplines, the causes, process and achievements – in the aspects of the 'changes in life, culture and social system' - of system transition and convergence of the former communist countries will be approached and analyzed from a mutual perspective. Besides, we intend to take a quantitative research method in this study. The comprehensive analysis will develop 'An Index of Transformation' that could predict the system transition on the achievements and limits during the transition period; this will enable recognizing and identifying objectively various problems that may arise in the integration into the new system and respond to them. 


Agenda Summary 

Unlike previous Eastern European studies, this agenda tries out interdisciplinarity between humanities and social science for the research on transition and convergence. This type of research enables more expanded and macroscopic knowledge to be created by blurring boundaries between various studies. Therefore, our research approaches to transition and convergence process that already happened in Eastern Europe and those have potentials to happen in other socialist countries from a scientific perspective, and the research outcome will be put together from a mutual viewpoint, then it could become a political contribution.


It has been 30 years since the collapse of Eastern Bloc, which led to the integration into Europe with a new system. For a quite long time, many different kinds of disciplines have been discussing fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and European integration; there has never been a single attempt to assess and analyse them in a comprehensive and macroscopic way. Transition and convergence are instead a simultaneous process throughout every realm than being 'Lilliputian' and isolated within a particular sector. It is a challenge and a massive wave of change stabilising conflicts.


In this manner, we have selected the main themes step by step:

"Cause, Challenge and Achievement of the Transition" and "The Background and Challenge of Convergence and Implications for Korean Peninsula". And then through the annual detailed subjects, we will get on with the interdisciplinarity between humanities and social science to figure out the cause, challenge and the resolution process of transition and convergence and implications for the Korean peninsula.


In the first year of phase one, with "Historical Background and Cause of Transition" as the subtopic, the following will be presented as the primary keywords- Homo-Sovieticus, human exception, frustration and wrath by the humanities division; and economic stagnation, power struggle and justification decay by the social science division.


In the second year, "the Process of Transition, Liquidation and Dissolution" is the sub-topic; the humanities division presents the return to the top, civic awareness, and consciousness conversion, and the social science division presents the definition of the transition period, memory and liquidation as keywords.


In the third year, the research will be conducted with the theme of "Results of Transition and Reconciliation and Co-existence," while in the humanities division presents conflict and confrontation, the culture of reconciliation and co-prosperity and humanities; and results of 30 years of transition: the social science division will present success and failure as main keywords. In the first year of phase two, each division will analyse the meaning of 'reversion to Europe' under the sub-topic, "the Historical Background and Implications of Convergence".


The sub-topic of the second year is "Convergence, Pluralism and Conflict": the humanities division will present the collapse of the cultural and humanities boundaries of Europe and Eastern Europe, and unionism, regionalism or nationalism by the social science division.


The last year, with "The Achievement of the Convergence and the Implications for Korean Peninsula" as the sub-topic, and Eastern European cultures of transition and the meanings of humanities characteristics at humanities and the implications for the Korean peninsula through the convergence as the final process of the transition at social science division will be presented. 




  • Director: KIM Jeong-hwan (Director of EEBI) 

  • Associate Researcher: KIM Shin-kyu (Ph.D., Hankuk University of Foreign Studies(HUFS), Politics

  • OUM Tae Hyun (Ph.D., Bucharest Univ., Linguistics) 

  • Co-Researcher: Kim Sang-hun (Department of South Slavic Studies)

    Kim Yong-deog (Department of Polish)

    Kim Chul-min (Department of South Slavic Studies)

    Hong Sog-u (Department of Ukrainian Studies) 



Major Schedule 


  • May: International Seminar in Japan

  • June: International Conference 

  • June: <HSSI Grant Project> Annual Report at National Research Foundation 

  • July: Preparatory meeting for English Journal Publication; aiming ‘Scopus’ level 

  • September: Publication of Eastern European HSSI; total 2 volumes to be published in a series 

  • November: International Seminar in China (to be determined; due to COVID-19) 

  • December: National Conference