ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Organized Interests in the Context of Democratic Backsliding

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Civil Society
Comparative Politics
Democratisation
Interest Groups
NGOs
INN212
Rafael Pablo Labanino
Universität Konstanz
Michael Dobbins
Universität Konstanz
Aron Buzogany
Freie Universität Berlin

Building: A, Floor: Basement, Room: UR1

Monday 15:15 - 17:00 (22/08/2022)


Abstract

The regression of democratic quality and the emergence of competitive authoritarian regimes have been among the main political phenomena across the globe of the past 20 years (Levitksy & Way, 2002, 2020; Levitksy & Ziblatt, 2018). There is, however, a large variance in the severity of de-democratization between countries. As Bermeo (2016) emphasizes, democratic backsliding in the 21st century so far does not necessarily lead to full dictatorships. Most regimes, even the more repressive ones, retain basic institutions of electoral democracies. In backsliding EU member states the nature of the power grab is more subtle. Scheppele (2018) called the strategy of these governments of constant constitutional and legal tinkering to achieve authoritarian ends autocratic legalism. Much scholarly attention has been devoted to the nature and development of democratic backsliding and the hybrid regimes in CEE (e.g., Bánkuti et al., 2012; Buzogany, 2017; Enyedi, 2020; Hanley & Vachudova, 2018; Kelemen, 2017; Magyar, 2016; Sata & Karolewski, 2020; Scheiring, 2020; Scheppele, 2018). However, we do not know much about how backsliding affects organized interests. This is surprising as backsliding clearly affects the deliberative component of democracy crucial for interest articulation, representation, and intermediation. As the deliberative component of the democracy index of the Varieties of Democracy Indices (Coppedge et al., 2020) shows, the deliberative component of democracy has declined since EU access – on average by 0.11 points on a scale from 0 (low) to 1 (high) in 11 CEE member states. Only Latvia and Estonia did not experience regression in this regard. There are a few recent studies that addressed some aspects of the effect of backsliding on civil society in CEE. Greskovits (2020) and Ekiert (2019) explored the grassroot support of illiberal incumbents, the emergence of “illiberal civil society organizations” and networks aligned with authoritarian and nationalist objectives. Labanino and Dobbins (2020) analyzed how the dismantling of academic freedom affected the strategies of Hungarian higher education organizations. Pospieszna and Vetulani-Cęgiel (2021) explored the strategies of Polish interest groups in the face of backsliding with the help of a 2017-2018 survey. Yet, there are almost no theory-driven accounts on how backsliding affects the key themes of interest organization research: the formation and mortality rates of interest groups, their lobby strategies, their access to policy-makers, or their influence on policy processes. In our panel we would like to include theory-driven empirical accounts that embed their analysis in the current interest group literature and bring theoretical innovation by carefully operationalizing and measuring the effect of backsliding on various aspects of interest organization research based on rigorous empirical analysis. We invite contributions that analyze backsliding in the context of three broad areas in interest group research: the access, influence, and advocacy strategies of interest groups; the effects of backsliding on interest group populations, their vital rates, density, and diversity; and the consequences of illiberal, Eurosceptic incumbents on national and EU-level networking and lobbying. We are open to both qualitative and quantitative studies.

Title Details
Development and challenges of organised interests under right-wing government: The case of Slovenia View Paper Details
Interest group system vibrancy: assessing competitiveness and internal voice across interest group communities in Europe View Paper Details
Shrinking venues: advocacy groups in illiberal governance. The case of Hungary View Paper Details
NGOs participation in state social policy formation in the Russian Federation. View Paper Details
Networks of influence - Brazilian interest groups and lobbying View Paper Details