Czech and Polish understanding of democracy

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Beata Pająk-Patkowska
Jaroslava Pospíšilová

Abstrakt

The paper attempts to analyze the results of the European Social Survey Round 6 (2012, 2013), focusing on the section related to how democracy is understood in Poland and in the Czech Republic. The most interesting issue encompassed the differences in how democracy is defined in the two countries and the outcomes these differences produce in terms of the perceived legitimacy of the system, as well as demographic factors that correlate with differences in the understanding of democracy in both surveyed groups. Statistical analyses carried out in the paper indicated the presence of different definitions of democracy formulated in Poland and in the Czech Republic (the Czechs gave stronger emphasis to the liberal aspect of democracy, whereas Poles stressed its social aspects more). Nevertheless, the relationship between the definition of democracy and the perceived level of legitimacy of the democratic system (for dispersed and specific legitimacy alike) were found to be relatively weak, as was the case of the relationship between the understanding of democracy, system legitimacy and socio-demographic factors. The only factor found to be significant for the perceived level of legitimacy of the democratic system concerned the level of satisfaction with one’s own material situation.

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Beata Pająk-Patkowska, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

PhD, psychologist and political scientist, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Her research interests focus on the political activities of citizens in democratic environments, the place of women in the political sphere, political psychobiography, and the directions of democratic development within Central and Eastern European states. She has authored a monograph and over thirty articles on the above subjects and coordinated the Polish-Hungarian research project on the political transformations within the two states. She is the author of numerous empirical studies on democracy, political activity and the determinants of political activities of women.

Jaroslava Pospíšilová, Czech Academy of Sciences in Praha

is a PhD student in political science at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University Prague. She also works as a doctoral researcher for the Department of Value Orientations in Society, Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Her research is focused on democratic attitudes in Czech society and the quality of democracy in post-communist countries. She published in the Central European Political Studies Review.

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