Ph.D. Project

Ph.D. Project: “New Generations, Old Stories? An Analysis of Political Participation and Its Preconditions in Central and Eastern Europe“

Many countries in Eastern Europe are still termed semi-consolidated democracies. One of their current political features is that political participation is weaker and less developed than in established democracies. In the literature, the so-called post-communist heritage is treated as one of the most important explanations for the lack of political participation in the area. This project breaks down the different facets of the cultural heritage in order to enable an operationalization of both its economic and cultural dimensions. I argue that it is necessary to distinguish between the communist and the post-communist heritage. The former refers to people’s negative experience under communism, the latter to people’s great expectations at the beginning of the great transition that have been mainly disappointed.

In addition, this contribution suggests the age-period-cohort approach as an indicator for measuring the influence of the cultural heritage as well as other predictors such as socio-economic resources and biographical conditions. By comparing different age groups with different biographical backgrounds and their level of political participation, this methodological approach enables new insights regarding the persistence of the cultural heritage. This research can indicate whether 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union a generational change is beginning to set in or if the cultural heritage reproduces itself.