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Photo: “0599 1989 Berlin Mauer (28 dec) (14285486046)” by Aad van der Drift, licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Bernhard, Michael. “What do we know about civil society and regime change thirty years after 1989?.” East European Politics (2020): 1-22.


This essay discusses the lessons of thirty years of postcommunist politics for our understanding of the relationship between civil society and regime change. It identifies four different modalities of civil society – insurgent, institutionalized, uncivil and firewall – and discusses each in detail with illustrations from post-communist politics. It shows how the politics of the region has been a fertile field of study for innovation in contemporary understandings of civil society in comparative politics.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.