Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

The Social Origins of Illiberalism in Central Europe

Sat1  Apr09:20am(20 mins)
Gilbert Scott Room 250


Lenka Bustikova Siroky1
1 University of Oxford, UK


What are the social origins of illiberal rule? This paper investigates current theories about the roots of illiberal attitudes, specifically with regard to state-church relations, democracy, the economy, ethnic and sexual minorities. Using new experimental data from four Central European countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia), the study finds that respondents overwhelmingly support teaching Christianity in schools, are dissatisfied with democracy, support economic paternalism, state regulation of ethnic relations, and oppose same-sex marriage. However, these attitudes are nuanced insofar as they indicate support for illiberal policies without explicit xenophobia, homophobia, and religious intolerance. For instance, while most respondents do not hold a particularly hostile view toward the LGBT community, they do overwhelmingly oppose same-sex marriage. Similarly, with regard to state-church relations, most respondents do not want the church to meddle in politics, but a significant proportion of respondents in all four countries do support a Christian-based curriculum in schools. By offering a rigorous examination of original experimental data on the social roots of these attitudes, the study aims to shed some new light on major debates about the origins of illiberalism.