This book seeks to inject fresh thinking into the debate on democratic deterioration in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), viewing ‘democratic backsliding’ through the prism of a range of cases beyond Hungary and Poland, to redress the imbalance in current scholarship.
Over the past decade a consensus has emerged that democracy in CEE is sharply deteriorating, perhaps even ‘backsliding’ into new forms of authoritarianism. Debate has, however, so far focused disproportionately on the two most dramatic and surprising cases: Hungary and Poland. This book reflects on the ‘backsliding’ debate through the experience of CEE countries such as the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Estonia; as well as neighbouring post-communist regions such as the Western Balkans and former Soviet Union (cases such as Moldova and Ukraine), whose patterns of failing or partial democratisation may be newly instructive for analysing the development of CEE. Contributors present less frequently considered perspectives on ‘democratic backsliding’ in the CEE region, such as the role of oligarchisation and wealth concentration; the potential of ethnographical approaches to democracy evaluation; the trade-offs between democratic quality and democratic stability; and the long-term interplay between social movements, state-building, and democratisation.
This book was originally published as a special issue of East European Politics.
1. Rethinking "democratic backsliding" in Central and Eastern Europe – looking beyond Hungary and Poland 2. The uncertain road to sustainable democracy: elite coalitions, citizen protests and the prospects of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe 3. Understanding the illiberal turn: democratic backsliding in the Czech Republic 4. "Everyday Democracy": an ethnographic methodology for the evaluation of (de-) democratisation 5. Consolidated technocratic and ethnic hollowness, but no backsliding: reassessing Europeanisation in Estonia and Latvia 6. Patterns of competitive authoritarianism in the Western Balkans 7. Perpetually "partly free": lessons from post-soviet hybrid regimes on backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe