Political Activism: Post-communist Challenges and Opportunities in East Central Europe


Contrary to standard narratives on the declining function of parties in fostering political participation, this article argues that far from abandoning the cause of participation, post-communist political parties diversified the understanding of the party as a mobilizing agency by adapting their internal organizations. On the basis of a mid-range number of cases (e.g. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia) the study identified different patterns of evolution within a complex interaction effect between participation and organizational development. The peculiarity of the parties’ organization and functions has shaped political participation both as an opportunity structure (legitimizing the political system and increasing citizens’ involvement in politics) and as a democratic challenge (increasing the pro-pensity of parties towards populism, ‘seasonal’ membership, corruption and clientelism).

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v9i1p152

Keywords: electoral turnout; organization; participation; political parties; post-communism


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