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Varieties of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe


The research project seeks to identify varieties in democratic political cultures in Central and Eastern Europe. It contends that democratic political cultures are not merely formed on the basis of legal rationality while eschewing tradition, but that they incorporate specific cultural elements while excluding others.

The democratic cultures of Central and Eastern Europe consist of different balances between legal rationality and substantive elements, and substantive differences in reproduced tradition and the inclusion of cultural components.

Comparative difference in democratic political cultures will be distinguished on two levels:
- an overall dominance of either legal-rational or substantive elements; and
- the particular interpretation and role of substantive elements.

The project complements existing research on political cultures that focus predominantly on popular democratic attitudes and links political theory (models of democracy) and empirical research on democracy (elite attitudes towards democracy). Three ideal-typical democratic political cultures will be identified: liberal-procceduralist democracy, republicanism, and communitarianism.

These will be distinguished in terms of their interpretation of and emphasis (or lack thereof) on a number of key elements in order to define as well as to distinguish between the ideal types: the rule of law and civil, political, and social rights; the role of the state; public interests/the common good; political participation; membership of the community; and collective identity.

The elements will be further grouped in three analytical dimensions on which models of democracy can be identified and distinguished:
- rights common good;
- civil society state; and
- individualism collectivism.

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EU contribution
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Sussex House
United Kingdom

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