001 Civil Society and Democratization I: Transitions in Southern and Eastern Europe Compared

Civil Society and Democratization: Transition and Consolidation in Southern and Eastern Europe Compared
Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM
C0.17 (Oudemanhuispoort)
Michael Bernhard (Florida), The Moore Thesis: What’s Left after 1989?

 This paper reconsiders Moore’s work on theemergence of democracy in the light of the democratization of Soviet-type regimes. It evaluates the continuing relevance of his work for understanding the post-1989 phase of European political development, specifically the in understanding regime trajectories in postcommunist Europe. Given Moore’s contention of “No bourgeoisie, no democracy,” it tries to make sense of how democracy emerged in a region in which the bourgeoisie had been eliminated. In understanding which states made a successful transition to liberal democracy both the role of civil society during the collapse of communism and the place of the state in the world system provide a comprehensive two stage explanation.

Robert M. Fishman (Notre Dame), How Civil Society Matters in Democratization: Theorizing the Iberian Divergence

On the basis of an analysis of the sharply divergent – but historically proximate – cases of Portugal and Spain I offer two broad theoretical generalizations about how civil society matters in democratization:  1)  The place of civil society in regime transition and the broader nature of democratization pathways are mutually constitutive, developing in a dynamic and iterative patterns.    2) The form taken by civil society in democratic transition and its place in the broader process of democratization carries large and enduring consequences for the type of democratic practice that follows transition.   Civil society matters at least as much for the nature of democratic practice after the transition as for the trajectory of the regime transition. 

Donatella della Porta (European University Institute), Civil society organizations and democratization processes. Some reflections

The paper addresses the debate on civil society in democratization processes. Transitologists focused on elite behavior, recognizing only a limited role to social movements. The revolutions of 1989 focused attention on processes of democratization from below, recognizing the role of civil society in both democratization by pacts and democratization by rupture. Social movement studies have stressed the role of protest in regime changes. In research on the 1989 wave of democratization the role of civil society organizations and protest has however been problematized as oppositional, organizations and mass insurgencies seemed to follow different trajectories. This debate is relevant to understand also other waves of democratization, such as Southern Europe and the "Arab Spring".

 Mark Beissinger, (Princeton), Conventional” and “Virtual” Civil Societies in Hybrid Regimes

 In hybrid regimes “conventional” civil society  is often weak for several reasons: past authoritarian rule that surpresses civil society; hybrid regimes fear the challenges that “conventional” civil society organizations present and repress it; and formal organizations based on face-to-face relations are relatively easy to regulate and target. However, as we have seen over the last decade in several hybrid regimes, the rise of the internet has provided a new basis for activism despite n anemic “conventional” civil society. This paper explores the implications of this mixture of weak “conventional” civil society and robust “virtual” civil society for state-society relations within hybrid regimes utilizing survey data from Russia, Ukraine, Tunisia, and Egypt.

Tiago Fernandes
Philippe Schmitter and David Ost
The Moore Thesis: What’s Left after 1989?
Michael Bernhard, University of Florida
Civil society organizations and democratization processes. Some reflections
Donatella Della Porta, European University Institute