Civil society going political: the crisis of democracy and the rise of participatory political parties in Croatia

Cepić, Dražen and Kovačić, Marko (2015) Civil society going political: the crisis of democracy and the rise of participatory political parties in Croatia. Contemporary Southeastern Europe, 2 (1). pp. 24-44. ISSN 2310-3612

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This paper debates the crisis of democracy and the importance of civil society in bringing forth new, participatory models of democracy. This is demonstrated in the case of Croatia, following the results of the local elections in spring 2013, when five newly founded political parties achieved moderate success. All five parties shared a series of common traits: strong ties to civil society, a program based on participatory democracy, decentralization and socio-liberal values, and the use of contemporary communication technologies. The goal of this article is to explain the emergence of the five parties by illuminating the socio-political context in which they were formed. Building on the existing literature on the crisis of democracy, the authors argue that the low level of trust in conventional political parties supported by a positive public attitude for civil society is not sufficient in explaining this phenomenon. Seeking to provide a more comprehensive solution the authors introduce the factor of motivation by analysing the failures of CSOs in establishing a dialogue with the government, as well as the structural features of CSOs (proactivity, adoptibility and ability to mobilize people), thereby establishing a link between the macro and micro level of analysis. Even though the paper analyses only one country, it indicates similarities with other countries with postsocialist backgrounds, allowing for speculations on possible similarities between them.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Language: English.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Participatory democracy, crisis of democracy, civil society, political parties, post-socialism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Depositing User: Karolina Vranješ
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2015 13:59
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2015 13:59

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