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SPP 383

Title: CENTRAL EUROPEAN WAYS TO DEMOCRACY
 
Author: András Bozóki
 
Description: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia are by most international standards liberal democracies. But these democracies still are relatively poor compared to West European countries. By examining the success of democratization in unfavourable economic conditions the legacy of the transition process as well as the legacies of pre-communist and communist regimes are shown. The Central European pattern of transition can be summarized by two ideas: non-violence and negotiation. The transition socialized political and social actors to value peace and self-limited political behavior: both experiences proved useful in later stages of democratization too. Among pre-communist legacies institution-building has been emphasized in the revolutionary tradition. People learned that breaking with the past through rebellion was not enough; short term victories can easily be turned to defeats. Only building a new institutional order can guarantee the longer term success of revolutionary change. Among many negative ones, the few positive legacies of communism -- social mobilization, industrialization, high literacy rate, urbanization, and a curious form of female emancipation -- created some favorable social requisites for democratic political change.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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