Public Defence of Juhan Saharov’s PhD dissertation
On 21 June, Juhan Saharov will defend his doctoral dissertation titled “From Economic Independence to Political Sovereignty: Inventing ’Self-Management’ in the Estonian SSR”. The public defence takes place at 14.00 online via Zoom (link TBA later).
The supervisor of the dissertation is Associate Professor Eva Piirimäe from the University of Tartu. Professor Balázs Trencsényi from the Central European University will serve as the opponent.
Synopsis of the dissertation:
The dissertation develops a novel methodological approach to studying revolutionary processes, highlighting the value of exploring the dynamics of conceptual change in pre-revolutionary transformative moments. It focuses on the case of the Estonian SSR in the early and mid-perestroika period (1985–1988). The dissertation analyzes the changes that took place in the reform socialist discourse in this period, tracing their links to those in broader Soviet, but also in global discourses since the 1960s. At the same time, the dissertation highlights the uniqueness of the Estonian case, exploring the contextual resources that made possible the conceptual innovations that took place there.
The conceptual innovations in Estonia led to the first revolutionary situation (the situation of “dual power”) among the 1989 revolutions in Europe, contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The dissertation’s thesis is that we can identify specific conceptual processes in pre-revolutionary periods through which specific and technical concepts, derived from an expert-language framework, acquire broader resonance and meaning in society, thus contributing to the rise of a revolutionary situation.
Research Communication Specialist
PhD Programme Coordinator
Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
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