In societies divided on ethnic and religious lines, problems of democracy are magnified - particularly where groups are mobilized into parties. With the principle of majority rule, minorities should be less willing to endorse democratic institutions where their parties persistently lose elections. While such problems should also hamper transitions to democracy, several diverse Eastern European states have formed democracies even under these conditions. In this book, Sherrill Stroschein argues that sustained protest and contention by ethnic Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia brought concessions on policies that they could not achieve through the ballot box, in contrast to Transcarpathia, Ukraine. In Romania and Slovakia, contention during the 1990s made each group accustomed to each other's claims, and aware of the degree to which each could push its own. Ethnic contention became a de facto deliberative process that fostered a moderation of group stances, allowing democratic consolidation to slowly and organically take root.
About the Author
Dr Sherrill Stroschein is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Politics in the Department of Political Science and Program Coordinator of the MSc in Democracy at University College London. She was previously an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and an Assistant Professor at Ohio University. She completed her PhD at Columbia University under the supervision of the late Dr Charles Tilly. Her publications examine the politics of ethnicity in democracies with mixed ethnic or religious populations and her work has appeared in Perspectives on Politics, Ethnopolitics, Nations and Nationalism and Party Politics, among other journals. She is also the editor of Governance in Ethnically Mixed Cities (2007).
Table of Contents1. Ethnic protest, moderation, and democratization; 2. Time, process, and events in democratization; 3. Ethnic contention in context; 4. Local violence and uncertainty in Târgu Mureş, 1990; 5. The power of symbols: Romanians, Hungarians, and King Mathias in Cluj; 6. Forging language laws: schools and sign wars; 7. Debating local governance: autonomy, local control, and minority enclaves; 8. Implications of group interaction.