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Research project

POSTNORM - Post-Authoritarian Norms and the Ideological Legacy of Dictatorships

Why have once successful left-wing parties in Poland nearly died out by 2015 (Grzymala-Busse 2019)? Why has Portugal been one of the last countries in Western Europe to see a radical right party in the national parliament? Why are right-wing individuals more likely to protest in Eastern Europe than left-wing individuals (Kostelka and Rovny 2019)?

This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC)

Funded by the European Union (ERC, POSTNORM, 101088868). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Council Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

POSTNORM proposes a theory postulating that these seemingly unrelated patterns are the product of a single process: the rejection of the ideological brand of the past authoritarian regime. Through novel survey experiments, POSTNORM will examine how in new democracies, the ideological associations with the old regime serve as a focal point for norms that govern what are appropriate political positions for voters and parties: in democracies following left(right-)wing dictatorship, voters and political elites avoid associating themselves with the left(right) respectively. POSTNORM further derives a set of testable expectations about how this bias shapes both the demand- and the supply side of party competition.The bias colors citizens’ ideological preferences; perceptions about parties’ stances in these issues; national identity; political discussions; the supply of new parties; post-transition party names and pro-grammatic stances; and party elite discourse. POSTNORM will deliver a parsimonious new theory that will help make sense of heterogeneity in political competition across new democracies.

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