Bogdan Mihai RADU (2016) To Clash or Not to Clash? Religious Revival and Support for Democracy in Post-Communist East Central Europe. Bucureşti: Editura Universităţii Bucureşti [Bucharest: Bucharest University Press]. 328 pp.

ISBN 978-606-16-0730-3

Favorable attitudes towards democracy are critical for consolidating democracy, and understanding how religion contributes to their formation is important in establishing the role of religion in democratization. This book explores the relationship between religion and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe in order to identify how belonging to a particular denomination and participation in church-related activities influences societal support for democracy.

For this purpose, the author investigates the effect of religious denomination, religiosity and religious participation on support for democracy in 14 former communist countries with different levels of democratic transition and consolidation and which display very different configurations of religious composition (Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine). The quantitative analysis uses World Value Surveys data and it is supplemented by a qualitative case-study on Romania.

The findings suggest that there is no denominational effect on pro-democratic attitudes. Christian Orthodox and Muslim believers in Central and Eastern Europe are no more or less supportive of democracy than their Catholic or Protestant counterparts. Instead, the author finds that the historical relationship between church and state, and the different roles played by religion in society do play a role in a church’s ability and willingness to accommodate democracy. Furthermore, he also finds based on qualitative research in Romania that the features describing the relationship between church and state are in a permanent interaction with each other. This dynamic interplay of the different contextual features describing the relationship between church and state, limit the applicability of quantitative data and asks for contextualized analyses of the relationship between religion and politics.

This volume was produced with the support of a CNCS-UEFISCDI grant (project nr. PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-0032).