How to Break a State: How Populists Contest the Liberal Order in Post-Communist Central Europe (69676)
Session Chair: Sameer Kumar
Sunday, 28 May 2023 11:25
Session: Session 2
Room: Room 707
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation
Why do populist challenges to liberalism emerge in countries with fairly positive economic indicators, and what accounts for the diversity of challenges in a historically similar region? Theorizing that a successful challenge occurs from a combination of demand, opportunity, and activation, I examine these conditions in the Visegrad Countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) and how the challenger party in each country utilized these conditions to stage their challenges. Using a mix of public opinion surveys, secondary literature, and qualitative textual analysis, I find that parties that explicitly tie remedies for economic dissatisfaction with identity-based appeals (e.g. to religion or nation) are better able to establish hegemonic electoral positions and delegitimize their opponents than parties that either coincidentally or by design fail to do so. This study contributes a holistic review of populist challenges in post-communist Central Europe and a qualitative textual analysis of party literature that is largely unavailable in other languages. In considering why some challenges result in monolithic state capture (e.g. Hungary) while others founder (e.g. Czechia), we gain a broader picture of both democratic stability in dissatisfied polities and a clearer picture of the structural weaknesses in post-communist regimes that facilitate democratic erosion and breakdown.
Keith Prushankin, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
About the Presenter(s)
Keith Prushankin is a PhD candidate in political science at the Freie Universität Berlin, a researcher at the Cluster of Excellence Contestations of the Liberal Script, and a Europaeum Scholar. His research interests include populism and geopolitics.
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