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Anna Korhonen
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Eeva Korteniemi
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Location & Connections

 

Visiting Fellows 2012-2013

 

Institute

Dieter Segert, University of Vienna, Austria

“Something is going wrong: How to understand better the controversies on democracy and its crises after 1989 in Eastern Europe”
Fellowship period: May 15–June 15, 2013

Biography:
Dieter Segert is Professor of Political Science and the Deputy Speaker of the Research Platform "Wiener Osteuropaforum" at the University of Vienna. He was born in 1952 in Salzwedel (GDR) and studied philosophy in Berlin (HUB) and Moscow (MGU). Since 1978 he has been Assistant Professor/Professor at Humboldt University Berlin, and he is co-founder of the academic discipline political science in GDR (1989-1990). In fall-winter 1989-1990 he was one of the activists of a rank and file movement within the state party SED. He has been Guest Professor at University of Bath, Charles University Prague and European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). He was employed by the German Agency for Civic Education in Bonn in 2002-2005. Professor Segert is an Aleksanteri Fellowship alumnus. His research interest include: Conditions of functioning and endangering of democracy; State Socialism and its heritage; Party politics. His recent publications are: The Crisis of Representative Democracy in the Post-Yugoslav Region. Discrepancies of Elite Policies and Citizens’ Expectations, co-author with Vedran Dzihic and Angela Wieser, in Southeastern Europe 36(2012), 87-110. Lessons from “post-Yugoslav” Democratization: Functional Problems of Stateness and the Problems of Democracy, with Vedran Dzihic, East European States and Societies Vol. 26, Issue 2, May 2012, 239 – 254.

Abstract of current research:
The results of democratization in Eastern Europe after 1989 are clearly ambivalent: Some evaluate democratization as a great success story while others pinpoint disappointments. The differing evaluations depend partly on who is evaluating and what is the focus of an evaluation: the losers or winners of transformation, the political elites vs. the bulk of population. The results also differ greatly between the countries, e.g.., whether we have in mind Albania or Czech Republic. (See a. o. Kornai 2006) But this kind of differentiation is not the whole story: Important are as well the chosen theoretical perspectives on the results of transformation. Different theories shed divergent light on the outcomes. My research project tries to combine the two main theoretical perspectives on democracy in Eastern Europe (transitions to democracy and its critics together with the discourse on new authoritarianism) with the Western concept of “Post-democracy”. Furthermore, in the project there are two case studies on political change in post-socialism: power and its instruments in Russia after 2000 and endangering of democracy in East Central Europe (Hungary and/ or Czech Republic) after 2004.

The first aim of the project is to answer the question, to what extent the Western research program of “post-democracy” can be applied to the political changes in Eastern Europe. The East is regarded by the author as a harbinger for the West. (See Bos/Segert 2008),  as a kind of a laboratory for the West to think what is going on if some preconditions of democratic rule disappear suddenly. In this sense the second aim of the project is to check to what degree the findings of the research on new authoritarianism in Eastern Europe could be used for a better understanding of crisis phenomena in the “old West”.


Email: dieter.segert [at] univie.ac.at
Personal website: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/dieter.segert/

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Tapani Kaakkuriniemi and Katalin Miklossy