Subscribe to our newsletter
Picture of Building Civil Society and Democracy in New Europe

Building Civil Society and Democracy in New Europe

Editor(s): Sven Eliaeson

Book Description

The European enlargement process culminating in 2004 was - as a follow-up to die Wende and the implosion of the Russian empire - an event of the same magnitude as 1815 and 1919. Like 1918-19, it was an “exit into history”, a momentous event in post-Westphalian Europe. Even if acceptance of ten new countries was premature, it was appropriate to the moment history provided. The presence of the “New kids on the block” meant both problems and prospects. The end of the cold war meant the fall of the iron curtain – but a mental remnant of the curtain remains, in terms of attitudes regarding civility, corruption, and transparency, and expectations for democratic politics. Several of the “new” countries are “late children of 1848”. For them, entering NATO was more important than joining the EU, and also preceded EU-membership. Poland is bigger than the other 2004 countries together and has a heavy historical legacy. It is - as Germany used to be - imprinted by its special path between East and West and fear of being encircled by enemies. Although the Building of Civil Society and Democracy in countries in transformation can draw on experiences from the countries already within the EU, there is no primrose path for EU-integration. It is, moreover, an irony that the new member states, as a result of the expectations for post-Communist politics, build institutions of a kind that are no longer sufficiently efficient for “old” Europe. The new countries became a full-scale experiment in rule by experts: now by neo-liberals instead of Communists. A common European public sphere and civil society might emerge, but its form remains visible only at the horizon.


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8465-8
ISBN-10: 1-84718-465-0
Date of Publication: 01/02/2008
Pages / Size: 365 / A5
Price: £39.99


Sven Eliaeson (born 1948). Fil. Dr (Swedish Ph D) in Political science in Uppsala 1982, docent in political science at Stockholm University 1996, professor in sociology at Centre for Social Studies in Warsaw from 2001. The classics in social science, in particular Max Weber, is scholarly main thrust and ”European affairs” (including Nordic security policy and European enlargement) Nebenfach. Numerous sojourns at German and American universities.