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A legacy of ‘uncivicness’? Social capital and radical right-wing populist voting in Eastern Europe

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This article is focusing on radical right-wing populist voting in Eastern Europe, and shows that neither the mass society thesis nor the theory of social capital, in Putnam's tradition, has much explanatory value for explaining the support for radical right-wing populism. Individuals with low participation in civil society are shown not to be significantly more right-wing populist than others, so that participation in civil society organizations is not a shield against populism. That means, that claims that radical right-wing populism has risen in Eastern Europe over the past one and a half decades because of a weakly developed civil society, that is, because of a legacy of lack of civic virtues being born through participation in civil society organizations, must be questioned. Such claims are not finding support in the empirical results presented in this article.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, Stockholm 10691, Sweden., Email:

Publication date: April 1, 2011


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