A climate of optimism? EU policy-making, political science and the democratization of Central and Eastern Europe (2000–2015)

Lise Esther Herman, James Dawson, Aurelia Ananda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Democratic erosion in the EU’s Central and Eastern European (CEE) member states has confounded EU policy-makers. In this paper, we investigate the assumptions behind the climate of optimism about CEE democratization that prevailed in EU decision-making before and after the 5th and 6th enlargements, and the extent to which political science participated in this intellectual climate. Based on a qualitative analysis of EU decision-making in the early twenty-first century and a quantitative analysis of 500 randomly sampled papers published between 2000 and 2015, we find that both policy makers and the most influential research in political science shared a bias towards optimism structured by common assumptions: A procedural understanding of democracy, a rational institutionalist belief in the EU’s capacity to bring these procedures about with the use of incentives and the related assumption that sociocultural dimensions of democracy would eventually follow institutions. We argue that these common assumptions help to explain both the EU’s failure to pre-empt and respond proportionately to democratic erosion, and the failure of our discipline to check that optimism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages23
JournalComparative European Politics
Volume(In-Press)
Early online date16 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this
article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Keywords

  • European Union
  • Political Science
  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • Democratization
  • Democratic backsliding
  • Enlargement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Institute themes

  • Governance, Leadership and Trust
  • Equality and Inclusion
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A climate of optimism? EU policy-making, political science and the democratization of Central and Eastern Europe (2000–2015)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this