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Statehood, Secularization, Cooptation: Explaining Democratic Survival in Inter-War Europe — Stein Rokkan's Conceptual Map Revisited

Frank Aarebrot and Sten Berglund
Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung
Vol. 20, No. 2 (74), Historisch-vergleichende Makrosoziologie: Stein Rokkan - der Beitrag eines Kosmopoliten aus der Peripherie (1995), pp. 210-225
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20755966
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Statehood, Secularization, Cooptation: Explaining Democratic Survival in Inter-War Europe — Stein Rokkan's Conceptual Map Revisited
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Abstract

This article addresses itself to the crisis of democracy in inter-war Europe which saw the breakdown of one democratic regime after the other with Czechoslovakia as the only survivor case in Eastern and Central Europe by the end of this period. It is cast within the framework of Stein Rokkan's seminal conceptual map of Europe which is expanded in order to account for countries and variables originally not included in his analytical scheme. The analysis leads to the following conclusion: where the state building was weak and the legacy of empire strong, or where secular nation building was still impaired by deeply rooted religious sentiments, or where significant segments representing major cleavages where not coopted into a constitutional compromise, the chances for democratic survival in inter-war Europe were slim indeed. The conclusion applies to the inter-war era alone, but it clearly has implications for contemporary Europe. Noting that statehood and secularization ranked high on the agenda of communist Eastern Europe, the authors raise the paradoxical question if the success of democracy in this part of the world may in fact be a byproduct of the extent to which the now defunct communist regimes were successful in promoting their pet goals.

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