PECOB Portal on Central Eastern
and Balkan Europe
Università di Bologna  
Tuesday June 25, 2024
Testata per la stampa

Civil society and social movements in the changing democracies of central and eastern Europe

Deadline for submitting abstracts: 1st of March, 2017 Social Science Review, the journal of the Institute of Sociology, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences calls for papers for its 2017 special issue on Civil Society and Social Movements in the Changing Democracies of Central and Eastern Europe to be published in December 2017.

They are also planning to invite the selected participants for a workshop in Budapest to discuss the individual papers.


Over the last few years both the post-transitory states the region of Central and Eastern Europe and the more stable democracies of the developed world have experienced unexpected turbulences in the political structures, the different generations and formations of the extreme right are on the rise, Euroscepticism, populism and even fascist ideologies are spreading as populist reactions to the new political challenges. A vast literature discusses the weakness and instability of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. Various explanations are attributed to this weakness – the semi-peripheric position of CEE countries in the world economic system, their communist legacy as their political culture and a structural condition, or the depoliticization of these societies after the transition. Recent research suggests that the effects of the economic crisis in 2008 and the recessions of the following years, as well as the failures of the mainstream political establishment to reflect to the newly emerged problems of the masses also contribute to this phenomenon.

Civil society and social movements have been expected to be a major drive behind the democratization of Central and Eastern European Countries. Although the importance of an autonomous civil society in a democracy is rarely questioned, the question arises whether civil societies and the newly emerged social movements are capable to substantially contribute to the democratization processes of these countries. These doubts are stronger as we witness a massive rise of extreme right movements, GONGO-s and pseudo-civil movements supporting those in power. Despite the remarkable presence of various NGOs and grassroots movements emerging all over the region, despite the massive anti-government mobilizations in many countries, the presence and role of movements and civil society in general is less definite than ever since the regime change, while authoritarian tendencies and discourses are on the rise.

They are looking for papers that would address the questions on the role of the changed and challenged civil society and social movements in the democratization processes - are they able to counterweight the authoritarian and populist tendencies? Can we even expect such a major role from them in the fight against the authoritarian elites and power structures and if not, what other roles do they fulfil? To what extent are they internalized in the political macrostructures and how can they break out of them? How can they persist sustainably and what can we attribute to them as a success?

Guidelines for submission

Please send your abstracts to
Deadline for submitting abstracts: 1st of March, 2017.

Abstracts (between 600–800 words) should include theoretical framework, methodology, and the main findings of the proposed paper.

Guest editors: Szabina Kerényi and Márton Gerő
(Institute for Sociology, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)


PECOB: Portal on Central Eastern and Balkan Europe - University of Bologna - 1, S. Giovanni Bosco - Faenza - Italy

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