Universalism and Particularism in European Contemporary History

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Prof. Dr. Alexander Libman

Prof. Dr. Alexander Libman

Institute for East European Studies, Free University of Berlin, Germany

Work group

The Economy (Distinguished Fellow)

Alexander Libman is Professor of Russian and East European Politics at the Free University of Berlin since October 2020. Prior to that, he was Professor of Social Sciences and East European Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (2016-2020), Associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (2014-2016) and Assistant Professor of International Political Economy at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (2009-2014). He obtained his PhD degree at the University of Mannheim in 2009.

Research Project

Social Sciences in Russia before the War: Integration, Isolation, Political Impact

Alexander Libman analyzes the interplay of historical and contemporary factors in the development of particularist and universalist semantics within the Russian social sciences (especially the political and economic sciences). After the collapse of the socialist system, complex processes unfolded in the post-Soviet academic community. These were associated with integration into the global academic community, but also with the development of schools of thought on a national level as well as the rejection of the concept of global scholarship. These processes often led to a fluid transition between the semantics of universalism and particularism. The initially universalist Marxism (which was fundamental for the Soviet social sciences) had to be reinterpreted as particularist "Russian" theory. The project questions the role of two factors in this process: historical path dependencies, which shaped the thought patterns and perceptions of post-Soviet researchers, and political interests, particularly the consolidation of Russian authoritarianism and its reference to the Soviet past as a source of legitimacy, which also shaped the behavior of researchers.


Alexander Libman | Reinterpreting Markets: Why Does Putin's Regime Keep Its Commitment to the Market Economy? as video and podcast on Wissenschaftsportal L.I.S.A.