Ken Jowitt and Katherine Verdery on Post-Leninism Comparison Essay by scribbler

Ken Jowitt and Katherine Verdery on Post-Leninism
A comparative review of the articles "New World Disorder: The Leninist Extinction" by Ken Jowitt and "What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next?" by Katherine Verdery.
# 152326 | 1,937 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Jan 28, 2013 in International Relations (General) , Political Science (General)

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This paper reviews the articles "New World Disorder: The Leninist Extinction" by Ken Jowitt and "What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next?" by Katherine Verdery and compares and contrasts both authors' analyses of "post-Leninism" and their assertions that the postsocialist world entails political conflict and shifts. The paper argues that both viewpoints are powerful and plausible arguments that point to historical and political realities since the end of the Soviet era. The paper also notes that both perspectives can be fused positively in the sense that they are speaking of the same phenomena from different points of view.

From the Paper:

"According to Jowitt, radical changes are inevitable due to the disappearance of the camp or bloc from which the controlled nations took their identity and boundaries. Going from a central organization as well as rigid and clear territorial and identity boundaries, he predicts the world will move into an environment "in which territorial, ideological, and issue boundaries are attenuated, unclear, and confusing" (Jowitt 307). In other words, contested frontiers will replace well-defined boundaries. There will be a return to chaos and formlessness, what he calls "the potential maelstrom emerging in the aftermath of the Leninist extinction" (Jowitt 311). He uses certain biblical analogies to describe this changing situation (Genesis and Joshua). In his view, no optimistic reassurance can eliminate the turbulence after this collapse. Jowitt is pessimistic in the sense that he thinks this dramatic change cannot be dealt with by Western notions of democracy stepping in easily to clear out the old Leninism, and that it will certainly show spillover effects in the Western and Third Worlds that are harmful for global stability.
"One of the strengths of Jowitt's argument is its historical basis. For one thing, his analogies to the past (biblical and historical) show patterns that support his position. New nations are formed when an older larger entity disintegrates. Once it disintegrates, there is destabilization but ultimately reconstitution (for example, in the Balkans and Yugoslavia). For another, many of the issues of boundaries and ethnic identities played out as he predicted."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Jowitt, Ken. New World Disorder: The Leninist Extinction. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
  • Verdery, Katherine. What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next? Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

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Ken Jowitt and Katherine Verdery on Post-Leninism (2013, January 28) Retrieved June 04, 2020, from

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"Ken Jowitt and Katherine Verdery on Post-Leninism" 28 January 2013. Web. 04 June. 2020. <>