Frontiers of Democracy: East-Central Europe in Comparison

Course Description: 

This seminar will focus on comparative analyses of democracies in Central Europe in a contemporary historical perspective. Special attention will be paid to the past 25 years from 1989 to present. We will analyze different theoretical models of democracy, our discussion will include the so-called different „stages” of democracy (such as minimalist, electoral, substantive, consolidated etc.). We shall briefly discuss the nature of the previous, non-democratic regime and we’ll discuss the „transitological optimism” concerning the future of democracy, the processes of institution-building and democratic consolidation. Special attention will be paid to the „Visegrád-countries”. Finally, current empirical problems, the signs of deterioration (deconsolidation, breakdown) and the rise of illiberal democracy, competitive authoritarianism and hybrid regimes will be identified. Besides the discussion of individual cases, we will also focus on intra-regional (and, sometimes, inter-regional) comparisons.