Civil society as a game changer: a comparative study of political transitions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East
Gregg, Heather S.
Robinson, Glenn E.
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This study examines the role civil society has played in bringing about political change in the totalitarian regimes of the former Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe and the authoritarian states challenged by the Arab Spring. Specifically, this thesis creates a list of criteria for evaluating the presence of a good (meaning vibrant and liberal) or bad (meaning anti-democratic and non-liberal) civil society, and uses these criteria to predict the long term prospects of democratization in the four countries studied: Poland, Russia, Tunisia, and Egypt. The study finds that the presence of a good civil society or the majority of its criteria enhances the prospects of democratization in countries undergoing political transitions, while the lack of all or most of its criteria significantly decreases the likelihood that a democratic system will take root.
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