Jan Kubik

Jan Kubik is Professor of Slavonic and East European Studies at UCL SSEES, and President Elect and 2020 President of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES).
Jan Kubik works on the interplay between power (politics) and culture, protest politics and social movements, and post-communist transformations. He also writes about qualitative methods in the social sciences. His first book, The Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power (Penn State Press 1994), and one of his more recent publications, Anthropology and Political Science (Berghahn, with Myron Aronoff 2014), best exemplify his approach. In another recent project, co-organized with Amy Linch and sponsored by the Social Science Research Council in New York, a team of top experts took a critical look at the field of post-communist studies: Postcommunism from Within: Social Justice, Mobilization, and Hegemony (NYU Press 2013). Kubik studies politics and culture comparatively, but the principal source of his observations and data are Poland and East–Central Europe.

Kubik’s work on the relationship between culture and politics finds the most recent expression in another collaborative research project: Twenty Years After Communism: The Politics of Memory and Commemoration (Oxford University Press 2014). Kubik and Michael Bernhard (University of Florida) developed an original analytical frame, proposed a theory of the politics of memory and led a team of exceptional scholars to investigate the politics of commemorations in 17 post-communist countries. They are studying the way 1989 is collectively remembered, how this remembering is politicized and how it influences the course of democratic consolidation.

At the moment Kubik is completing a large empirical project entitled ‘Strategies of collective protest in democratizing societies’, conceived mostly in collaboration with Grzegorz Ekiert (Harvard). The main product of its first stage was: Rebellious Civil Society. Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, 1989–1993 (University of Michigan Press 2001). The book won two awards: The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies/Orbis Polish Book Prize (2000) and the Bronisław Malinowski Social Sciences Award, awarded by Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (2001). Since 2004, Kubik has been a co-PI of the project’s second and final phase entitled: The Logic of Civil Society: Contentious Politics in New Democracies: Poland, Hungary, South Korea and Taiwan, 1987–2011.

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