Populism in Central and Eastern Europe - The Revival of History?

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/141523
Dokumentart: Article
Date: 2023
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Politikwissenschaft
DDC Classifikation: 320 - Political science
Keywords: Populismus , Rechtspopulismus , Osteuropa
Other Keywords:
Eastern Europe
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=en
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In recent year, Central and Eastern Europe has experienced a wave of populist ascent that has swamped the mainstream discourse with radical notions and has led to a shift to the right in many countries of the region. Victor Orbán’s endeavour of transforming Hungary into an ‘illiberal democracy’ is expressive of a larger trend of democratic hollowing and backsliding in postcommunist European states. Today, more than twenty years after Francis Fukuyama predicted liberalism’s ultimate victory against its competing ideologies and with that ‘the end of history’, liberalism faces a powerful challenger in Central and Eastern Europe: populism. This paper travels back to the days of liberal triumph and explores to what extent the political-economic transformation of post-communist states has influenced populism in Central and Eastern Europe. Building on Karl Polanyi’s ‘Double Movement’, populism in Central and Eastern Europe is conceptualized as a countermovement against the hegemony of Western European liberalism. While resolving political and institutional differences between the democratic West and the communist East, I will argue, the transformation has not managed to resolve the normative hierarchy innate in the systemic confrontation between East and West. Instead, this hierarchy persists within the logic of democratic liberalism, perpetuating a power imbalance between the ‘accomplished and normative’ Western European version of liberalism and the ‘defective and still becoming’ Eastern European version thereof. Populist actors increasingly refuse to accept the Western liberal model as the normative ideal and instead draft their own version of democracy, abandoning many of what the West understands as liberalism’s core concepts.

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