Crucibles of Political Loyalty

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April 2006



Why do mass political loyalties persist even amid prolonged social and economic upheaval? Drawing on archival materials and an original election database, this book explores this question by examining Hungary's path from pre- to post-communism. Despite the many depredations of communism, the Churches transmitted loyalties to right-wing parties. Harassed by communist party cadres, local clergymen employed ingenious tactics to ensure the survival of local church institutions. These institutions insulated their adherents from pressures to assimilate into the surrounding socialist milieu, leading to political continuity between pre- and post-communism.


1. Explaining political persistence; 2. Electoral persistence and volatility in Hungary; 3. The churches first confront communism; 4. The battle for souls, 1948-56; 5. The battle for souls after 1956; 6. Church community and rightist persistence: statistical evidence; 7. Conclusion.


Jason Wittenberg is assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Organization Science, Political Analysis, Slavic Review, and the System Dynamics Review.


"Wittenberg weighs in on a long-standing puzzle: Why, like a watermark on the printed page, do partisan loyalties survive within a society across generations and notwithstanding vast historical change -- in France, for example, from back across the Fifth, Fourth, and Third Republics, back even to the French Revolution, and maybe before? ...This is a rigorous explanation for a hard case, with relevance for other authoritarian transitions..." Robert Levgold, Foreign Affairs "Jason Wittenberg's study of the relationship between religiosity and voting practices in Hungary since the Second World War is an impressive attempt to bridge the methodological divide in the social sciences between number-crunching and narration...A formidable piece of scholarship and a highly stimulating spur to further research. It asks probing questions and includes keen observations, and it is to be hoped that political scientists as well as other scholars will continue to deploy a broad methodological arsenal to follow up on them." James Bjork, H-Net Reviews "Political scientists have long claimed that some public attitudes are surprisingly durable in the face of significant political, economic and social change and even when well-established regimes are dedicated to their eradication. However, the evidence for such claims is usually spotty; attitudes are rarely linked to behavior; and the mechanisms of reproduction are usually under-specified. Jason Wittenberg's careful analysis of local political struggles over the course of Hungary's transitions to both communism and postcommunism is a welcome exception to these generalizations. He provides strong evidence not just of the durability of public beliefs and their linkages to political behavior, but also the processes by which these beliefs and behaviors maintain themselves through the passage of time and in an unusually hostile political environment." Valerie Bunce, Cornell University "Methodologists extol the merits of combining quantitative and qualitative methods, but serious analyses taking such advice are rare. This book is a wonderful exemplar of what can be learned from combining the two methods. The puzzle of why pre-Communist political cleavages manifested themselves again in post-Communist Hungary, as if 40 years of Communist rule did not matter, is both important and fascinating. The answer in terms of church institutions is equally important. Wittenberg's marshalling of different types of evidence makes the answer compelling." Nathaniel Beck, New York University "Where the Catholic and Calvinist Churches outsmarted the Communist Party, Jason Wittenberg's compelling study shows, right wing voting in Hungary reemerged even after a half-century of rapid modernization and authoritarian rule. Wittenberg's stunning combination of archival discovery and statistical savvy makes this methodologically sophisticated book a veritable page-turner." David D. Laitin, Stanford University "Wittenberg has successfully mixed a reading of the everyday party documents with a cutting-edge study of voting patterns to produce a convincing overall work. It is one of a few, and certainly one of the best, works on the persistence of political loyalties in authoritarian societies." Roger Petersen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EAN: 9780521849128
ISBN: 0521849128
Untertitel: Church Institutions and Electoral Continuity in Hungary. 'Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics'. 18 tables. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Cambridge University Press
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2006
Seitenanzahl: 312 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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