Cleavages, social engagement and trust in post-communist euroupe

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Title: Cleavages, social engagement and trust in post-communist euroupe
Author: Rossbach, David Otto
Abstract: This dissertation addresses generalized trust in Post -Communist Europe . I examine trust stressing two sets of factors : the impact of attitudes associated with cleavages coming out of transition to democracy , and the importance of informal interpersonal association over more formal , structured forms of association . I argue that the classic list of cleavages suggested by Lipset and Rokkan (1967 ) have less importance to trust since those cleavages developed under the communist one -party state and were therefore less connected to the party system . As a result , these classic cleavages did not have the same mobilization functions as they did in Western Europe . Instead , I argue that cleavages that have developed out of the transition to democracy and a free -market economic system bear greater importance to trust . I further argue that due to the experience of forced group association during the communist era , and lingering distaste for formal political participation , the familiar Western models of the benefits of social engagement underestimate the importance of informal association in the post -communist states . Informal association was a key component of survival during the communist era and continues to be a valuable means of conferring information and forming political judgments . The first contribution this dissertation makes is that it brings together theories of political cleavages with theories of trust and social capital development . The dissertation bridges the gap between societal divisions and the position of the individual within these divisions . A second contribution of the dissertation is the testing of established theories of formal social engagement in post -communist states . The secretive nature of association during the communist era differs greatly from the open nature of association in the West . Theories of trust and social capital development must take this fact into account when exploring post -communist states .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -3233
Date: 2009-05-15

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Cleavages, social engagement and trust in post-communist euroupe. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -3233 .

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