Shaping Civic Attitudes: Protests and Politics in Romania

by Clara Volintiru and Cristina Buzașu,

This article looks at the contemporary upsurge of activist citizenship in Romania. Our assessment is aimed at disentangling the contextual determinants, from the agency of the movements themselves. Our research is based on primary empirical evidence collected from semi-structured interviews, surveys, news coverage, and official documents. Our findings suggest that the shaping power of the contemporary civic protests in Romania is mostly related to their ability to change the public agenda and impact the decision-making bodies in determinant ways (i.e. resignation of political actors, or legislative and institutional reforms). Beyond concrete, short-term objectives, the recent wave of protest movements in this country, through iteration has managed to change citizen’s democratic expectations and create a contentious opposition towards previously well-established political forces. This latter aspect is a distinctive feature of the here analysed issue-driven protest episodes (i.e. civic protests), from traditional interest-driven protests. It also explains the genealogy of new competitive political actors in Romania, benefiting from new instruments of electoral mobilisation.

published in Vol 20 - No 1 -2020 // General issue
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  • Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (chair) Hertie School of Governance
  • Larry Diamond Stanford University
  • Tom Gallagher University of Bradford
  • Alena Ledeneva University College London
  • Michael McFaul Stanford University
  • Philippe Schmitter Stanford University
  • Helen Wallace London School of Economics and Political Science

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  • George Jiglau
  • Ingi Iusmen

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Societatea Academica Romana