This essay argues that the search for a scientific theory of transformation is ill-conceived. Postcommunist transformation is not a scientific project but a political project. It therefore requires a political theory rather than a scientific theory of transformation. The distinction is important because social scientists as political actors have played a siginificant role in the transformation process. Several examples are provided to illustrate the relationship between social science and transformation. In political theories of transformation, social science knowledge is subordinated and instrumental. This does not reduce the significance of social science, but rather reconceptualizes it. The legitimate functions of social science in transformation theory have critical, constructive and applied dimensions.

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