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Democracy and its Alternatives: Understanding Post-Communist Societies (Hardback)

Richard Rose, William Mishler, Christian Haerpfer

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ISBN 10: 0745619266 / ISBN 13: 9780745619262
Published by Polity Press, United Kingdom, 1998
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Language: N/A. Brand New Book. The collapse of communism has created the opportunity for democracy to spread from Prague to the Baltic and the Black seas. But the alternatives - dictatorship or totalitarian rule - are more in keeping with the traditions of Central and Eastern Europe. Will people put up with new democracies which are associated with inflation, unemployment, crime and corruption? Or will they return to some form of authoritarian regime? Half a century ago, Winston Churchill predicted that people will accept democracy with all its faults - because it is better than anything else that has ever been tried. To find out if Churchill was right, this book analyses a unique source of evidence about public opinion, the New Democracies Barometer, covering the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Belarus and Ukraine. The authors find that there is widespread popular support for democracy compared to communism, dictatorship and military rule. People who have been denied democratic freedoms value new political rights more highly. Economic concerns are second in importance. If democracy fails, it will be because political elites have abused their power, not because the public does not want democracy. Looking at post-communist Europe makes us think again about democracy in countries where it is taken for granted. The abrupt transition to democracy in post-communist countries is normal; gradual evolution in the Anglo-American style is the exception to the rule. Complaints in Western countries about democracy being less than ideal reflect confidence that there is no alternative. Post-communist citizens do not have this luxury: they must make the most of what they have. This important book makes an important contribution to current debates about democratization and democratic theory and to the growing literature on the social and political changes taking place in post-communist societies. It will be of particular interest to students and scholars in politics and sociology. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780745619262

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Democracy and its Alternatives: ...

Publisher: Polity Press, United Kingdom

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition:New

About this title

Synopsis:

The collapse of Communism has created the opportunity for democracy to spread from Prague to the Baltic and Black Seas. But the alternatives―dictatorship or totalitarian rule―are more in keeping with the traditions of Central Europe. And for many post-Communist societies, democracy has come to be associated with inflation, unemployment, crime, and corruption. Is it still true, then, as Winston Churchill suggested a half-century ago, that people will accept democracy with all its faults―because it is better than anything else?

To find out, political scientists Richard Rose, William Mishler, and Christian Haerpfer examine evidence from post-Communist societies in eastern Europe. Drawing on data from public opinion and exit polls, election results, and interviews, the authors present testable hypotheses regarding regime change, consolidation, and prospects for stabilization. The authors point out that the abrupt transition to democracy in post-Communist countries is normal; gradual evolution in the Anglo-American way is the exception to the rule.

While most recent books on democratization focus on Latin America and, to some extent, Asia, the present volume offers a unique look at the process currently under way in nine eastern European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Belarus, and Ukraine. Despite the many problems these post-Communist societies are experiencing in making the transition to a more open and democratic polity, the authors conclude that a little democracy is better than no democracy at all.

About the Author:

Richard Rose is director of the Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. His many books include Understanding Big Government, Ordinary People in Public Policy, and What is Europe? William Mishler is professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Political Representation in Canada and co-author of Controversies in the Political Economy. Christian Haerpfer is scientific director of the Paul Lazarsfeld Society for Social Research, Vienna.

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