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Contentious Politics in New Democracies: Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, & the Former East Germany (PSGE 41 1997) Grzegorz Ekiert & Jan Kubik

Contentious Politics in New Democracies: Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, & the Former East Germany (PSGE 41 1997) Grzegorz Ekiert & Jan Kubik

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The paper reconstructs and explains the patterns of collective protest in four Central European countries, Hungary, former East Germany, Poland, and Slovakia, during the early phases of democratic consolidation (1989-1994). Analytical perspective is provided by protest event analysis. The empirical evidence comes from content analysis of several major papers in each country. The patterns found in the data are com­pared with the predictions derived from four theoretical traditions: (a) relative deprivation; (b) instrumen­tal institutionalism; (c) historical-cultural institutionalism; and (d) resource mobilization theory. Two main conclusions are reached. First, the levels of "objective" or "subjective" deprivation are unrelated to the magnitude and various feature of protest, which are best explained by a combination of institutional and resource mobilization theories. Second, democratic consolidation is not necessarily threatened by a high magnitude of protest. If protest's demands are moderate and its methods routinized, it contributes to the po­litical vitality of new democracies.
The paper reconstructs and explains the patterns of collective protest in four Central European countries, Hungary, former East Germany, Poland, and Slovakia, during the early phases of democratic consolidation (1989-1994). Analytical perspective is provided by protest event analysis. The empirical evidence comes from content analysis of several major papers in each country. The patterns found in the data are com­pared with the predictions derived from four theoretical traditions: (a) relative deprivation; (b) instrumen­tal institutionalism; (c) historical-cultural institutionalism; and (d) resource mobilization theory. Two main conclusions are reached. First, the levels of "objective" or "subjective" deprivation are unrelated to the magnitude and various feature of protest, which are best explained by a combination of institutional and resource mobilization theories. Second, democratic consolidation is not necessarily threatened by a high magnitude of protest. If protest's demands are moderate and its methods routinized, it contributes to the po­litical vitality of new democracies.

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12/19/2012

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Contentious Politics in
New
Democracies: Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Former 
East
Germany Since 1989 
Grzegorz Ekiert
and
Jan Kubik
Harvard UniversityRutgers UniversityCenter for European Studies Department of Political ScienceCambridge
MA
02138 New Brunswick NJ 08903
Program.
on
Central and Eastern EuropeWorking Paper Series
141
Abstract
The
paper reconstructs and explains the patterns
of
collective protest in four Central European countries,Hungary, former East Germany, Poland, and Slovakia,
dUring
the
early phases
of
democratic consolidation(1989.1994). Analytical perspective
is
provided
by
protest event analysis.
The
empirical evidence comes
from
content
analysis
of
several major papers in each country.
The
patterns found in
the
data are compared with the predictions derived from four theoretical traditions: (a) relative deprivation; (b) instrumental institutionalism;
CC)
historical-cultural institutionalism; and (d) resource mobilization theory. Two mainconclusions are reached. First, the levels
of
"objective" or "subjective" deprivation are unrelated to themagnitude and various feature of protest, which are best explained
by
a combination of institutional andresource mobilization theories. Second, democratic consolidation
is
not
necessarily threatened
by
a highmagnitude
of
protest. If protest's demands are moderate and its methods routinized, it contributes to the
po
litical vitality of new democracies.
 
I.
The
location
of
our
project
in
the
literature
on democratic
consolidations
.1
The
research
proj
ect
presented
in
this
paper
expands our
understanding of
democratic
consolidation.
The
empirical
evidence
comes
primarily
from
the
systematic
data
collection
on
collectiveprotest
during
the
first
years
ofdemocratic
transition
in
four
countries:
Poland,
Hungary,
Slovakia,
and
the
former
East
Germany.Our
analysis
focuses
on
the neglected
dimension
of the
postcommunist
transformations:
contentious
action
by
non-elite
collective
actors
in
four
Central
European
countries.
Our aim
is
to
counter
the
existing
pro-elite
bias
in
the
literature,
determine
the
impact
of
protest
activities
on
democratization,
and
to
reconstruct
the
emerging
patterns
of the
state-society
relationships in
the
newly
democratizing
societies.
Conceptualizing
and
explaining
the rapid,
unexpected
collapse
of
state-socialist
regimes
in
East
Central
Europe
in
1989
and
the
ensuing
efforts
at
democratization
and
restructuring
of
the
economy
is
a
challenge
for
students
of
comparative
politics.
The
simultaneity
of
the
breakdown,
despite
varied
political
andeconomic
conditions
in
each
country,
reinforced
a
notion
that
these
regimes
were
basically identical
one-party
states
kept
in
power
by
the
Soviet
military
presence.
Additionally,
some
experts
assumed
thatin
the
wake
of
communism's
collapse the
new
regimes
developed
similar
structures
and
faced
similar
challenges
and
pressures
and
therefore
should
be
treated
as
a
single
political
type.
1The
project
was
funded
by
the
Program
for
the
Study
of
Germany
and
Europe
administered
by
the
Center
for
European
Studies
at
Harvard
University,
the National
Council
for
Soviet
and
East
European
Research
and
the
American
Council
of
Learned
Societies.
It
was
directed
by
Grzegorz
Ekiert
and
Jan
Kubik.
We
would
like
to
thank Sidney
Tarrow
for
his
generous
help
and
encouragement.
For
their
indispensable
assistance
and
advice
our
special
gratitude
goes
to
Martha
Kubik,
Ela
Ekiert,
Anna
Grzymala-Busse,
Jason
Wittenberg,
Mark
Beissinger,
Nancy
Bermeo,
Valerie
Bunce,
Ellen
Comisso,
Bela
Greskovits,
JanosKornai,
Michael
D.
Kennedy,
Christiane
Lemke,
Darina
Malova,
Alexander
Motyl,
Mary
jane
Osa,
Dieter
Rucht,
Mate
Szabo,
Anna
Seleny,
and
Mayer
N.
Zald.
1

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