The Rise of Grassroots Authoritarianism? Political Attitudes and Perceptions in Western Balkans
The region of Western Balkans went through a substantial decline in democracy during the last decade, one that brings about serious threats including authoritarian entrenchment, renewed ethnic conflict and decline in support for the EU (BiEPAG, 2017). Exploring political values, attitudes and perceptions undoubtedly represents an important way of identifying roots of these trends and for the search of potential solutions. The presentation will build on Inglehart’s revised theory of modernization (Inglehart and Welzel, 2005) according to which a cultural shift, based on economic development, is a crucial prerequisite for democratic development. Based on the survey data gathered within the Horizon 2020 project entitled Closing the gap between formal and informal institutions, as well as on secondary analysis of some other data, the presentation will focus on basic trends in relation to political and wider social attitudes and perceptions, and, more importantly, focus on their socio-economic factors and their social effects. One of the key identified trends is the rise of authoritarian tendencies among the citizens of most WB6 countries. Results will be discussed in light of the Europeanization paradigm and the EU enlargement agenda.