Coalitional Configurations : A Structural Analysis of Democratization in the Former Soviet Union

By Buck, Andrew; Hass, Jeffrey | Demokratizatsiya, Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

Coalitional Configurations : A Structural Analysis of Democratization in the Former Soviet Union


Buck, Andrew, Hass, Jeffrey, Demokratizatsiya


Trajectories of Post-Socialist Polities: The Big Picture, Explanations, and Coalitions

The democratization experiences of countries from the former Soviet Union pose an analytical riddle: Why is there such variation in outcomes given relatively similar starting points as former members of the Soviet Union? Echoes of democratization's contradictions and challenges reverberate: in the byzantine politics of shadow coalitions and "Kremlin capitalism," in Central Asian oligopolies, and in various color revolutions past and future. The roots of unhappy politics in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, or Kazakhstan--in contrast to the relatively more benign or progressive polities of the Baltic countries--lie in processes that enabled and constrained actors as they constructed new coalitions and rules determining access to and use of political and economic capital. Yet for all the empirical richness of these experiences, the balkanization of social sciences has obscured how post-socialism speaks to past and ongoing issues of democratization. In fact, variation in post-Soviet political trajectories cries out for an overarching analysis on its own terms: first, to make better sense of the processes and projects of this post-socialist iteration of the "Great Transformation"; and second, to take advantage of variation, just as earlier sociology and political science did to lay the groundwork for fundamental theoretical ideas still used today. Post-socialism allows us to revisit earlier questions with new comparative cases, to generate further insights or expand the realm of analysis by treating post-socialism inductively as an historical event in itself.

Scholars have typically addressed dynamics and trajectories of post-socialist change with focused case studies or comparisons across a handful of countries. (1) Our goal is to build on these insights, and the real variation between these cases, to expand a field of inquiry that harks back to grander traditions in comparative politics and political sociology that asked big questions about "modernity." Perhaps the most ambitious was Barrington Moore's comparison of historical pathways to democracy, fascism, and communism, an undertaking that inspired other seminal comparative works. (2) Moore's analysis revealed the importance of structures (in his case, class structures) in shaping political trajectories, rescuing Marx's insights from his own initial oversights and the weaknesses of later Marxists. Facile references to (often tautological) "political culture" in and of itself, or to historical contingencies alone, were insufficient for making sense of why one country suffered authoritarianism while another enjoyed democracy. Further developing a structural analysis and adding processes and organizations, Charles Tilly compared European histories to demonstrate how economic structures, state structures, and state-economy relations influenced the trajectories of political structures and regimes. (3) Later, he explored broader structures and institutions, proposing a political process model of political change and democratization that incorporated lower-level structural relations, especially coalitions. (4) In this model, what matters for democratization is the quality of interactions between authorities and their subjects in the polity.

While we accept the importance of Tilly's "three Cs" (coercion, capital, and coalitions) for understanding political trajectories, here we focus on coalitions to make better sense of the trajectories of political structures, polities, and regime power in the former USSR. Coalitions, one form of structure, are important for democratization because they express polity members' protection from and access to state action. Where are actors located in the polity--inside, on the edges, or outside? To whom are actors connected? The importance of coalitions as they relate to coercion and state capacity is in how coalitional structures can nudge polities along different trajectories. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Coalitional Configurations : A Structural Analysis of Democratization in the Former Soviet Union
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.