The fall of the Berlin wall raised many questions about Germany and post-socialist countries. Given East Germany's authoritarian history, how democratic are its citizens now? What kind of democracy do they want a liberal or socialist democracy? What economic system do they prefer? How have they reacted to democratic and market systems since 1989? The book shows how individual institutional learning may be offset by the diffusion of democratic values. The author uses public opinion surveys to compare attitudes of MPs and the general public, and in-depth interviews with parliamentarians in east, and west Berlin to show the persistence of socialist views in the east as well as lower levels of political tolerance. Moreover, the book argues, these values have changed fairly littlesince unification. The author presents evidence and develops implications for other post-socialist nations, arguing that while post-socialist citizens do not yearn for the old socialist order, their socialist values frequently lower enthusiasm for new democratic and market institutions.
The implications being that ideological values are primarily shaped by individual exposure to institutions and that democratic and market values are diffused only in specific conditions. More than just an analysis of German political culture, the book offers conpelling conclusions about the future of democracy in all post-socialist states. Robert Rohrschneider won the Stein Rokkan Prize for best book in comparative politics by a young scholar awarded by the International Social Science Committee of UNESCO.
Robert Rohrschneider is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana University.