My Research

The shortest way of explaining my research is to say that I study communist spies. A slightly more elaborate way would be to say that I study the effects of transitional justice (more specifically, policies targeting secret service personnel and the files they collected) on the politicization of thecommunist past in Eastern Europe. In my research, I test two contrasting sets of hypotheses. One of them suggests that policies opening the secret service archives and identifying secret service personnel will eventually reduce scandals and move the issue off the political agenda. The other argues that such policies actually increase the salience of the issue, that they generate more scandals in which someone’s spying past is exposed, and that, rather than move the issue of the agenda, these policies may in the end create a demand for more transitional justice. A quantitative analysis of media coverage in six countries as well as case studies relying mostly on interviews in the Czech and Slovak Republics will be used to test these two hypotheses.

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