From the Vanguard to the Margins is dedicated to the work of the late British historian, Dr Mark Pittaway (1971-2010), a prominent scholar of post-war and contemporary Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Breaking with orthodox readings on Eastern bloc regimes, which remain wedded to the 'totalitarianism' paradigm of the Cold War era, the essays in this volume shed light on the contradictory historical and social trajectory of 'real socialism' in the region.
Mainstream historiography has presented Stalinist parties as 'omnipotent', effectively stripping workers and society in general of its 'relative autonomy'. Building on an impressive amount of archive material, Pittaway convincingly shows how dynamics of class, gender, skill level, and rural versus urban location, shaped politics in the period. The volume also offers novel insights on historical and sociological roots of fascism in Hungary and the politics of legitimacy in the Austro-Hungarian borderlands.