ABSTRACT

Bluhm and Varga introduce the conceptual frame and key questions of this volume. They bring together existing studies on illiberalism to formulate explanations of the rise of the new conservatism in the region. While there is a growing literature on the spread of liberalism and neoliberalism in post-communist Europe, the same is not true for illiberalism and conservatism. More research on conservatism is simply necessary; that is, insights into the actors, networks, and key concepts of the new conservatism, considered one of the major ideological influence on parties such as Law and Justice in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary, and Edinaya Rossiya in Russia. They further argue that conservatism adds a more explicit and precise ideological content to other concepts used for describing Eastern Europe’s illiberalism (namely populism and nationalism). The chapter closes with a synopsis and a presentation of the approach pursued, one grounded in the sociology of knowledge, the specific institutional settings in which ideology develops, and the study of the actors shaping and developing conservatism, in particular intellectuals.