Explaining patterns of lustration and communist security service file access in post-1989 Poland

Szczerbiak, Aleks (2014) Explaining patterns of lustration and communist security service file access in post-1989 Poland. Working Paper. Sussex European Institute, Falmer, Brighton.

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Abstract

As an archetypal case of late and recurring lustration and communist security service file access, Poland provides us with an excellent basis for developing frameworks to explain this phenomenon. This paper examines whether and how the explanations available in the comparative and theoretical literature that has developed in recent years on lustration and transitional justice in the newly emerging democracies of post-communist Central and Eastern Europe help us to understand the extent and recurrence of lustration and file access in countries like post-communist Poland. It shows how these issues became entwined with other discourses and developments in post-communist politics and identifies two such fields of debate which could form the basis for more detailed, grounded research both on the Polish case specifically and other cases of ‘late lustration’ more generally. Firstly, the re-emergence of the lustration and file access issue as an element of broader concerns about the need to improve the quality of post-communist democracy more generally. Secondly, the way that the issue became embroiled in what might be termed the ‘politics of history’ as a means of using historical narratives to buttress and question the legitimacy of political actors. Considering how states such as Poland deal with the communist past is, therefore, not just interesting in its own right but also has the capacity to provide us with insights into patterns of post-communist politics in these countries more generally.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Additional Information: SEI Working Paper No. 133
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN6750 Poland
Depositing User: Aleks Szczerbiak
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 14:44
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2014 14:44
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51464

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