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Searching for the Origins of Civic Community in the Newly Expanded European Union. Jean Monnet/Robert Schumann Paper Series Vol. 4 No. 18, December 2004

Davidson-Schmich, Louise K. (2004) Searching for the Origins of Civic Community in the Newly Expanded European Union. Jean Monnet/Robert Schumann Paper Series Vol. 4 No. 18, December 2004. [Working Paper] (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    Although many scholars stress the importance of a civic political culture for a functioning democracy, there is little consensus about where such a culture originates. The ‘bottom up’ approach argues that the civic culture has centuries old, enduring roots that in turn shape political and economic institutions. The ‘top down’ approach implies that political culture itself can be shaped by political institutions. Both schools of thought, however, stress the interrelatedness of civic behaviors; voluntary group membership, newspaper readership, and voting are expected to all be high in civic cultures and low elsewhere. In contrast, this article argues that these four components of ‘civicness’ are differently influenced by contemporary political institutions and are therefore less interrelated than previous scholars have hypothesized. Germany and its neighbors in a newly expanded EU provide an excellent laboratory in which to empirically investigate these conflicting hypotheses about the origin of the civic community. If the ‘bottom up’ approach were correct, there would be no differences in the level of civic community between the Eastern and Western parts of Germany and Central Europe since they were separated by the Iron Curtain for only four decades. If the ‘top down’ approach were correct, forty years of communist rule would have indeed reduced the level of civic community in Eastern Germany and Eastern Central Europe. Instead, I find marked differences in voluntary group membership across the former Iron Curtain, but much less divergence in terms of newspaper readership and voter turnout.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Central and Eastern Europe
    Countries > Germany
    Other > civil society
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series: UNSPECIFIED
    ["eprint_fieldname_eusries" not defined]: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Miami, Florida-EU Center of Excellence > Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2008
    Page Range: p. 25
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:52
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8133

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