chapter  10
Why post-communist citizens do not join voluntary organizations
ByMarc Morjé Howard
Pages 19

The events in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s contributed greatly to the revival of the concept of civil society in comparative politics. Yet, ironically, when compared to other regions of the world today, civil society remains extremely weak throughout post-communist Europe (Smolar 1996; Lomax 1997; Padgett 2000). Moreover, analysis of the 1995 to 1997 World Values Survey (WVS) results in thirty-one democratic and democratizing countries shows that even when controlling for levels of economic well-being, political rights and civil liberties, and ‘civilization,’ a country’s prior communist experience is the most important factor in explaining variation in levels of civil society participation across countries (Howard 2003).