The Rocky Road of Europeanization in the New Member States: From the Democracy Capture to the Second Try of Democratizatio
Attila Ágh 1  
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Budapest Corvinus University
Publication date: 2016-03-30
Polish Sociological Review 2016;193(1):71–86
There has been recently a change of paradigms in the academic literature on the historical trajectory of the new member states (NMS). It has been in the last years switching from the success stories to the danger of peripherialization what I call the Rocky Road of Europeanization. Instead of positive evaluations of the first ten years in the EU, more and more “balanced,” “mixed” or even negative evaluations have appeared. These evaluations have been based on the huge datasets of the international ranking institutions like the Bertelsmann Foundation, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Freedom House, IMF, OECD, Open Society Institute and World Economic Forum. The huge datasets have facilitated the elaboration of the conceptual turning point in the evaluations of the NMS historical trajectory. This theoretical paper—relying on the above datasets—deals with the controversial development of democratization in NMS in the Quarter-Century of systemic change and after Ten Years of the EU membership. It tries to elaborate a new conceptual framework on the decline of the top-down democracy, leading to democracy capture or façade democracy, and on the return to the participatory democratization as a bottom-up process.