Article

Post-Communist Democratization

Joshua Tucker

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0018
Post-Communist Democratization

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In addition to forever changing the lives of hundreds of millions of people, the collapse of communism presented a unique opportunity to social scientists, especially to political scientists. Almost thirty countries suddenly found themselves in the midst of a “transition” at approximately the same time and with at least one very strikingly similar precondition: decades of communist rule. For people who study comparative politics, it is harder to think of a better research background. This review focuses on five areas of scholarship that are related to the emergence of democracy in eastern Europe. The first examines the actual process of democratization, from the literature on the collapse of communism to the emergence of what followed it. The second then looks at the opinions held by citizens in these newly democratic states—toward democracy itself, economic and social policies, their new political institutions, and what would become the future for most of the region: membership in the European Union (EU). The next section covers the activity that distinguishes new democracies most clearly from their predemocratic regime types: elections and voting. The fourth section examines the other ways that citizens in post-communist countries have made their views heard, through social movements in protests. The final section concludes with what has been perhaps the most pressing policy issue faced in the post-communist political space since the 1990s, which is the question of post-communist economic reform.

Article.  10458 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

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