EU-STRAT’s second workshop took place in October 13, 2016 and was hosted by the team at Freie Universität Berlin (FUB). The workshop’s goal was to bring together EU-STRAT partners to agree on the overall conceptual framework for understanding varieties of social orders in the EaP countries, a key objective of the project’s Work Package (WP) 2. In order to do so, EU-STRAT researchers will seek to determine the degree of political and economic openness prevailing in EaP countries, as well as the distribution of power among important economic and political actors that qualify as members of so-called dominant coalitions.
EU-STRAT researchers present at the workshop were from Leiden University, University of Birmingham, the School of Young Managers in Public Administration (SYMPA), the Ukrainian Institute for Public Policy (UIPP), the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS), Vilnius University (VU), the Lithuanian consultancy ESTEP, and the Foundation Maison des Sciences d l’Homme (FMSH).
Partners debated how to best identify dominant elites and power networks, as well as organizations and informal institutions that structure political and economic openness in the EaP countries. They focused inter alia on the potential role of military and secret service organizations, as well as on the need to differentiate between political and bureaucratic actors. The workshop participants also used the opportunity to discuss ways that allow analysing social orders in breadth and depth in the EaP region. WP2 will start with mapping varieties of social orders in the EaP countries, which should help to identify instances of ruptures or stabilization. In a second step, partners in WP2 will zoom in on these cases and investigate the mechanisms and factors that drove these changes, in order to eventually explain alterations to otherwise relatively stable equilibria of social orders.