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Political Participation and Non-democratic Political Culture in Western Europe, East-Central Europe and Post-Yugoslav Countries

Abstract

Theory of postmodernization (Inglehart, R. (1997). Modernization and postmodernization: Cultural, economic, and political change in 43 societies. Princeton/Chichester: Princeton University Press; Inglehart, R., & Welzel, C. (2007). Modernization, cultural change, and democracy: The human development sequence. New York: Cambridge University Press) predicts that the public in socioeconomically more developed countries (e.g. established democracies) are more politically engaged and more pro-democratically oriented (e.g. higher levels of self-expression values) than citizens in less prosperous (e.g. post-communist) countries; and that individuals who are more non-democratically oriented are generally less political active. We tested these predictions by comparing three European regions: a group of twenty established European democracies, nine Central and Eastern European EU member states, and seven post-Yugoslav countries. The predictive power of postmodernization theory within the post-Yugoslav sample was also examined. Employing European Values Study (European Values Study. (2008) http://zacat.gesis.org. Accessed 27 Mar 2011) we cross-regionally and cross-nationally compared (1) the levels of three types of political participation (voter turnout, party membership, and protest participation); (2) the levels of non-democratic political culture (authoritarian political culture, lifestyle intolerance, and gender role traditionalism), and (3) the link between political participation and non-democratic political culture. The results indicated that post-communist citizens are less politically engaged and more non-democratically oriented than their Western counterparts, and that in all three regions “authoritarians” are less likely to be political active. A less straightforward pattern was observed in post-Yugoslav countries. Implications of the results and future research suggestions are discussed.

Keywords

  • Political Participation
  • Political Culture
  • Socioeconomic Development
  • Gender Role Traditionalism
  • Voter Turnout

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For a comprehensive list of research dealing with post-Yugoslav countries see

    http://projects.ff.uni-mb.si/cepyus/en/publications.

  2. 2.

    USA, Norway and West Germany.

  3. 3.

    East Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

  4. 4.

    Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.

  5. 5.

    This group included the following established EU member states: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Though they are not EU member states, we also included Iceland, Norway and Switzerland in this group, since all fall in the advanced European democracies group according to economic and political indicators (HDR 2010).

  6. 6.

    Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovak Republic.

  7. 7.

    Post-Yugoslav group included all post-Yugoslav countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

  8. 8.

    The actual question regarding protest engagements in the EVS questionnaire were framed as follows: “Now I’d like you to look at this card. I’m going to read out some different forms of political action that people can take, and I’d like you to tell me, for each one, whether you have actually done any of these things, whether you might do it or would never, under any circumstances, do it”.

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Kirbiš, A. (2013). Political Participation and Non-democratic Political Culture in Western Europe, East-Central Europe and Post-Yugoslav Countries. In: Demetriou, K. (eds) Democracy in Transition. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-30068-4_12

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