Critique of deinstitutionalisation in postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe

Teodor Mladenov (Lead / Corresponding author), Gabor Petri

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    24 Citations (Scopus)
    154 Downloads (Pure)


    In this paper, we explore critically deinstitutionalisation reform, focusing specifically on the postsocialist region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). We argue that deinstitutionalisation in postsocialist CEE has generated re-institutionalising outcomes, including renovation of existing institutions and/or creation of new, smaller settings that have nevertheless reproduced key features of institutional life. To explain these trends, we first consider the historical background of the reform, highlighting the legacy of state socialism and the effects of postsocialist neoliberalisation. We then discuss the impact of ‘external’ drivers of deinstitutionalisation in CEE, particularly the European Union and its funding, as well as human rights discourses incorporated in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The analysis is supported by looking at the current situation in Hungary and Bulgaria through recent reports by local civil society organisations. In conclusion, we propose some definitional tactics for redirecting existing resources towards genuine community-based services.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1203-1226
    Number of pages24
    JournalDisability & Society
    Issue number8
    Early online date5 Nov 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2020


    • residential institutions
    • Independent Living
    • European Union
    • state socialism
    • postsocialism
    • neoliberalism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • General Social Sciences
    • General Health Professions


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