Prof. Zenonas Norkus (Vilnius University): Retrospective Scenario Planning in the Framework of Qualitative Comparative Analysis: Illustrated by Research on the Patterns in Post-Communist Transformation
Zenonas Norkus is visiting the the Science Studies Colloquium Series. Norkus is a professor at the Department of Sociology, Vilnius University (Lithuania). His current research project is about comparative historical sociology of modern restorations focusing on the restorations of/in the Baltic States.
The seminar is open for everyone!
Scenarios are analytical narratives or complex causal stories about the distant future which are constructed in future studies and strategic management (business studies). They are different from conventional scientific predictions that are expected to be true or most probable, because scenario planning focuses on the uncertain and open aspects of the future which are the sources of threats and opportunities for stakeholders. Scenarios also differ from science fiction and social utopias, because scenario planners accept more stringent restrictions on creative imagination.
This lecture demonstrates by the example of research on the patterns in post-communist transformations how the data analysis technique known as qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) can be used to build the bridge between scenario planning and counterfactual analysis, providing the framework for systematic and controlled exploration of the unrealized alternatives in history (“what if…?”). The main drivers of post-communist transformation are identified by critically recycling the discussions of the different modes of the political (pacted transition versus revolution) and economic (gradual versus ‘shock therapy’ market reforms) exits from communism. Received dichotomies are expanded into politomies, supplementing them with a variable describing dominant orientations in the social imaginary of the late communist societies. Exploring unrealized possibilities of post-communist transformation, retrospective scenario planning helps to cope with its limited empirical diversity, enabling to construct a middle-range (bottom-up) theory of varieties of post-communist transformation.