The paradox of minority accommodation: Eastern Europe after 30 years

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The article discusses some of the paradoxes of minority accommodation in Eastern Europe 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the course of doing so, it focuses on four specific issues: volatility, sequencing, a shift from nationalism (group) to social conservatism (grid), and on the radicalisation of mainstream parties. Volatility is tied to the ebb and flow of shifts in the status quo associated with minority accommodation, which elucidates both why radical right mobilisation accelerates and why it loses steam. The expansion of minority rights leads to political ‘extreme reactions’. Sequencing matters since minority accommodation coincided with democratisation in Eastern Europe, so the struggle over minority rights is confounded with a concurrent regime change. Shifts from group to grid refer to the recent rise in socially conservative issues as sources of polarisation. Finally, extremist parties can threaten democratic pluralism. Nevertheless, large radicalised mainstream parties that control parliaments, not small extremist parties, subvert the institutions of democratic oversight. The threat originates from the mainstream and is exacerbated by the fact that liberal democracy has not ‘locked in’ in most of Eastern Europe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Political Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • Liberal democracy
  • Minority rights
  • Polarisation
  • Radical right

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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