chapter  1
17 Pages

Television Entertainment in Socialist Eastern Europe: Between Cold War Politics and Global Developments


Moments of abrupt transformation provide convenient frameworks for interpretation and understanding. They allow us to organize our thinking into neatly separated compartments of ‘before’ and ‘after,’ and invite us to identify and explain the patterns that distinguish one from the other. The sudden collapse of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe provided just such a framework. As the bipolar division of the world passed into history, scholars, journalists and casual observers were left grasping for clues that could help make sense of the momentous transformation. The Cold War vocabulary established in the West, often reminiscent of foreign policy slogans promoted by successive American administrations-such as the ‘global democratic revolution,’ used by Ronald Reagan in his State of the Union address in 1987-provided a vast pool of readymade formulas. The end of the Cold War, went the argument, spelled the demise of communist totalitarianism and cultural isolation, and signalled the triumph of liberal democracy, individual freedom and capitalist economy.