Publication details

At the Ballot Boxes or in the Streets and Factories: Economic Contention in the Visegrad Group



Year of publication 2015
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Description Although some knowledge exists on how economic restriction and protests are related in “old” Western democracies, little is known about how economic situation and protest are related in new democracies. This context is different from the established democracies for several reasons. Citizens and social movements in these countries are pictured as apathetic towards politics, disengaged, politically passive, and protesting very little. Simultaneously, these new democracies have been dealing with severe economic and financial hardships already from the very beginning of their existence and have experienced several waves of austerity measures in the last 20 years. The paper examines protest on issues pertaining to economy, welfare, and social policies – which we call “economic protest” – in Eastern Europe and more specifically in the so-called Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia). It shows that the level of economic protest varies strongly across these four countries, with Czech Republic and Slovakia being much less contentious than Hungary and Poland. It maintains that available theories are poorly equipped to explain such differences and argue that the explanation lies on the overall structure of the political conflict of these post-communist countries and, more specifically, that economic protest emerges under the conditions of a suppressed economic cleavage in the field of party politics.
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