The fading mirage of the “liberal consensus”: What's Wrong With East-Central Europe?

James Dawson, Seán Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)
256 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In 2007 Ivan Krastev argued that EU-enforced ‘liberal consensus’ in East Central Europe 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-34
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Democracy
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

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East Central Europe
populism
authoritarianism
cultural change
conservatism
liberalism
rent
Hungary
accommodation
consolidation
elite
EU
democracy
politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

The fading mirage of the “liberal consensus” : What's Wrong With East-Central Europe? / Dawson, James; Hanley, Seán.

In: Journal of Democracy, Vol. 27, No. 1, 27.01.2016, p. 20-34.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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