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East Central Europe: The Fading Mirage of the ‘Liberal Consensus’

Hanley, SL; Dawson, J; (2016) East Central Europe: The Fading Mirage of the ‘Liberal Consensus’. Journal of Democracy , 27 (1) pp. 20-34. Green open access

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Abstract

In 2007 Ivan Krastev argued that EU-enforced ‘liberal consensus’ in East Central Europe (ECE) was giving way to illiberal, but ultimately benign, populism. Post-accession ‘backsliding’ in Hungary suggests a stronger illiberal challenge. However, we argue, democratic malaise in ECE is better understood as a long-term pattern of ‘illiberal consolidation’ built on an accommodation between technocratic, economistic liberalism and forces of rent-seeking and cultural conservatism. This configuration generates a mirage of liberal-democratic progress and mainstream moderate politics, which obscures engrained elite collusion and limits to cultural change. Bulgarian-style hollowness, rather than Hungarian-style semi-authoritarianism, better exemplifies the potential fate of ECE democracies today.

Type: Article
Title: East Central Europe: The Fading Mirage of the ‘Liberal Consensus’
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.journalofdemocracy.org/article/what%E2...
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This is a prepublication version of a forthcoming article that will appear in Journal of Democracy, Volume 27, Issue 1, January, 2016.
Keywords: Democracy, Eastern Europe, East Central Europe, liberalism, backsliding, democratisation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470009
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