Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe

Marc Morjé Howard

in The Oxford Handbook of Civil Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195398571
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe

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This article examines the history of civil society in post-communist regions in Europe. A closer look at the regions shows that shortly after the revolutionary moment had passed, people left the streets and their civic organizations, leaving their societies largely passive and depoliticized. This article shows the social legacies of communism have adapted and persisted, and how they may even have been reinforced by post-communist developments and experiences. It evaluates the implications of the weakness of post-communist civil society for democracy in the region and argues that while the weakness of civil society certainly does not portend democracy's demise, it does suggest that post-communist democracy will remain unsettled and somewhat troubled in the foreseeable future.

Keywords: civil society; post-communist Europe; revolutionary moment; civic organizations; communism; democracy

Article.  5058 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Public Policy

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