Critique of deinstitutionalisation in postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe

MLADENOV, Teodor
PETRI, Gabor

Publication Date 

2019
23 pp

In this paper, we explore critically deinstitutionalisation reform, focusing specifically on the postsocialist region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). We argue that deinstitutionalisation in postsocialist CEE has generated re-institutionalising outcomes, including renovation of existing institutions and/or creation of new, smaller settings that have nevertheless reproduced key features of institutional life. To explain these trends, we first consider the historical background of the reform, highlighting the legacy of state socialism and the effects of postsocialist neoliberalisation. We then discuss the impact of ‘external’ drivers of deinstitutionalisation in CEE, particularly the European Union and its funding, as well as human rights discourses incorporated in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The analysis is supported by looking at the current situation in Hungary and Bulgaria through recent reports by local civil society organisations. In conclusion, we propose some definitional tactics for redirecting existing resources towards genuine community-based services.

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