New conveners and next ACDC meeting, Raiko Jäärats on “‘The Silent Era’ of interwar Estonia and political shifts in Europe in the 21st Century”, 6 October, 15:30-17:00, VU Amsterdam Main building 1G-11

Dear all,

We are back again to announce our next ACDC meeting. On October 6th, ACDC welcomes Raiko Jäärats (Tallinn University) who is currently a visiting scholar under the auspices of the Estonian Archimedes Foundation and funded by the ESF Doctoral Studies and Internationalisation Programme DoRa. This talk will be interesting for Historians, Political Scientists, Text and Conversation Analysts and anyone interested in Eastern European countries and their relation to the EU. His talk, titled The Silent Era” of interwar Estonia and political shifts in Europe in the 21st Century”, is scheduled at 15:30 at VU Amsterdam Main building 1G-11.

Abstract:

Raiko Jäärats is taking a Critical Discourse Approach to what is known as “The Silent Era” in Estonia, before the Second World War. He will provide a historic perspective on current public discussions in Estonia about the authoritarian period and compare it with the global meta-narrative about the 1930s crisis in Eastern and Central Europe. In addition, he will present a few sample texts from “The Silent Era” to discuss various approaches to how these might best be analysed.

Estonia became an independent democratic republic in 1918, but was immediately challenged by Soviet Russia on one side and the German Freikorps and the Baltic German units on the other. After a short and successful war on two fronts the independence was secured in 1920. It became a Republic with an unprecedented ultra-democratic constitution. This new system created an unstable inner political situation and was considered to be inefficient in the context of the economic crisis. Consequently, it created the framework for an authoritarian turn in the 1930s. Regionally, it is exceptional that its radical-right movement (Estonian Veterans’ League or vaps movement) could come to power legally. At the last minute (1934), it was interrupted by interim Prime Minister Konstantin Päts, who vowed to “defend democracy”. Raiko studies this process from 1934 onwards when democratic freedoms gradually diminished “silently” under Päts’s regime, despite strong voices In favour of democracy. There was no repression by force: apparently the media and the political leaders had enough power to change the situation despite established authoritarian rule.

Historic evidence is scarce as 80% of the main actors were executed or died in Soviet concentration camps; archives were not conserved by Päts’s regime and many were destroyed during the Nazi and Soviet occupations. However, published texts remain and we will discuss a sample in this seminar to see how hegemony-theory might be applied to find how the Estonian case resonates in present-day Europe’s rise of the radical right (available in the acdcweb.tk archive). Raiko is now investigating this process using research strategy designed by Montesano Montessori (2011). This may help to create awareness of ‘how’ the process could sneak in silently in other contexts, despite strong moral and rational opposition.

Reference: Montesano Montessori, N. 2011. The design of a theoretical, methodological, analytical framework to analyse hegemony in discourse. Critical Discourse Studies 8(3), 169-181.

***

We would also like to take the opportunity to announce some changes in our team of ACDC conveners.

Ida Sabelis, Karen Verduyn and Manon van der Laaken are leaving the convener team as of September. We would like to warmly thank them for their vaulable contributions in organising and presenting at past ACDC meetings. Unfortunately for ACDC they need to move on and focus on their partiuclar fields of interest, research, courses and international projects. We wish Manon success with her PhD project. We wish Karen much success with Msc in Entrepreneurship at the VU and her ‘critical’ work on Entrepreneurship in Action. We wish Ida many fruitful journeys through East- and South Africa for her work on organisational empowerment, particularly of women. We thank them for their engagement in the CDA20+ Symposium 2014 last year and hope to see them in our meetings regularly. At the same time, we welcome Julian Albaladejo Suárez and Neil Thompson, who will contribute to the transdisciplinary character of our meetings and strengthen the collaboration between the VU and UvA. You will find their contact details on our contact page (here).

With our warm regards,

Your ACDC conveners

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