The ideas in this book were shaped by my two mentors, Avraham Cordova and Ivan Szelenyi. Cordova's lectures on Foucault and the "new class," as well as numerous conversations I have had with him, have decisively influenced my thinking on this subject. Szelenyi's pioneering work on the socialist intelligentsia, and on the transition from socialism to capitalism, has set the standards in the field for many years. In many ways, this book represents an ongoing dialogue and debate with him.
This book began as a Ph.D. dissertation at UCLA, under Szelenyi's direction. While writing my dissertation, I was fortunate to participate in a unique collective effort to understand the dynamics of the postcommunist transition. My thinking about the breakup of Czechoslovakia was formed by countless discussions and many collaborations, in the context of this collective effort, with Eva Fodor, Eric Hanley, Larry King, Matt Mckeever, and Eleanor Townsley.
Once I arrived in Berkeley, I benefited from the advice and close reading provided by Michael Burawoy and Vicky Bonnell. The improvements in the manuscript from dissertation stage to book form, as well as in my thinking, are largely due to their insights. While in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, I enjoyed the hospitality, wisdom, and indeed connections of Petr Mateju and Jan Bunčak. I was also helped by Danica Sivakova, Valentina Harmadkova, and Jiří Musil. In