Comparative Democracy Seminar: Communism's Shadow: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Political Attitudes

Date: 

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 4:15pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Suite 200N, 124 Mt Auburn Street, Cambridge

About the SpeakerTucker

Joshua A. Tucker is Professor of Politics and affiliated Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies and Data Science at New York University, the Director of the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, a co-Director of the NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) laboratory, and a co-author of the award winning Monkey Cage blog at The Washington Post. He serves on the Editorial Board of multiple academic journals as well the Advisory Board of the American National Election Study and was a founding co-editor of the Journal of Experimental Political Science. Professor Tucker specializes in the study of mass political behavior, including elections and voting, the development of partisan attachment, public opinion formation, mass protest, and the relationship between social media and political participation. He is the author of Regional Economic Voting: Russia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, 1990-99 (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and the co-author of the forthcoming Communism’s Shadow: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Political Attitudes (Princeton University Press, 2017).

His work has appeared in numerous academic journals, including the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Politics, and the Annual Review of Political Science, and his opinions have been published in The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera EnglishTime, and the International Herald Tribune.  In 2006, he was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award for the top scholar in the field of Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior within 10 years of the doctorate. In 2012 he was part of an interdisciplinary four-person team of NYU faculty to win one the National Science Foundation's inaugural INSPIRE - CREATIV grants.

 

About Communism's Shadow
 

Scholars have long assumed that “legacies” from prior regimes have an important impact on what follows, and perhaps no more so than in the case of the post-communist successor states following the 45-70 year history of Soviet Communism.  Prior research, however, has focused largely on the effect of legacies on political and economic institutions.  Communism’s Shadow represents the first systematic attempt to assess the effect of legacies in a rigorous, comparative, and falsifiable framework on the attitudes of post-communist citizens towards fundamental questions of politics, economic, and social relations.

The authors introduce two distinct frameworks for explaining attitudinal differences between post-communist citizens and those in the rest of the world.  Drawing on large-scale cross-national survey research projects encompassing both the post-communist world and countries around the globe, supplemented by new collections of aggregate level data, the authors demonstrate that despite the many characteristics that differentiate life in a post-communist country from life elsewhere, actually living through communism has a clear and consistent effect on explaining why citizens in post-communist countries are, on average, less supportive of democracy, less support of markets, and more supportive of state provided social welfare. Utilizing sophisticated – yet transparent – statistical modeling techniques, the authors illustrate that additional years of exposure to communism correspond with greater support for attitudes associated with communist ideology. The one exception, attitudes towards gender equality, is itself revealing: in the area where the reality of communist rule was farthest from the rhetoric of the ideology, the legacy effect appears to be weakest.

Written in a modular manner, the book is designed to be accessible to readers interested in its four core areas – attitudes towards democracy, markets, social-welfare, and gender equality – as well as readers interested in the overarching substantive question regarding the determinants of legacy effect, the study of comparative public opinion, and methodological approaches to analyzing the effects of legacies on political behavior. 

Communism’s Shadow represents the first systematic attempt to assess the effect of Communist legacies on public opinion in a rigorous, comparative, and falsifiable framework. Written in a modular manner, the book is designed to be accessible to readers interested in its four core areas – attitudes towards democracy, markets, social-welfare, and gender equality – as well as readers interested in the overarching substantive question regarding the determinants of legacy effects, the study of comparative public opinion, and methodological approaches to analyzing the effects of legacies on political behavior.  

 

About the Comparative Democracy Seminar Series

The Ash Center’s Comparative Democracy Seminar Series, run by Candelaria Garay, Associate Professor of Public Policy, and Quinton Mayne, Associate Professor of Public Policy, brings innovative scholars in the field of comparative democracy to the Kennedy School to present their research.  Seminars have focused on topics as diverse as compulsory voting, the influence of Christian churches on public policy, the crisis of representation in Latin America, and the oil curse in the Middle East.

 

The event is co-sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

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