Civil Society and Populism in the Eastern European Democratic Transitions

TitleCivil Society and Populism in the Eastern European Democratic Transitions
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsBozóki, A., and M. Sükösd
Journal titlePraxis International
Pages224 - 241

Argues that the transitions to democracy in Eastern Europe, & particularly Hungary, were brought about by the movement toward civil society. Civil society describes the building of organizations outside the realm of the communist state. This movement led to democratic transition rather than revolution, but has since split into those favoring party-based elite democracy, those sticking to movement-based antiauthoritarian civil society, & those who have abandoned the political. This split has opened space for populism & nationalism. In Hungary, populism refers to people as an unstructured organic whole, promises economic strength with vague programs, & demands a real change vs the pseudorevolution. The weaker civil society becomes, the stronger populism will be. A strong civil society (& strong civil social roots in the new elite parties) could mobilize the population based on citizenship & democratic rights rather than populism. E. Blackwell


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Department of Political Science
Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations
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