Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 4 Issue 3 (September 1996), Pages 119-184

Crises, Opportunities and Moments of Surprise: Allusions, Illusions and Disillusions (pages 162-168)

From the point of macro‐sociology and comparative politics, the collapse of communism in 1989 largely came as a surprise.1 Before further reflecting on this, first, some key concepts in comparative crisis research are briefly dealt with. Secondly, the analytical peculiarities that arise when reform from above gets out of order and mixes with challenges from below are outlined and related to the political opportunity structure approach prominent in recent and more refined research on social movements. Thirdly, is there any ‘logic’(structure) in those failures to anticipate what later, in responses to crises, came about? Fourthly, what can be learned from this for government, challengers, masses and political scientists alike? Hopefully, the paper will not create further illusions, but rather help in asking where to look, what to tackle next in research and what can be learned from the available research.

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