The dramatic transformation of Eastern Europe from communism to one or another form of democracy in the last two decades has made this region an irresistible subject for students of democratic theory. With her unique blend of theory and empirical analysis, veteran observer of Eastern Europe Sabrina P. Ramet offers clear insight into the processes, challenges, and accomplishments of this area of the world.
Drawing on a classical understanding of “liberalism” based on a philosophy of Natural Law, she probes the issues of capitalism, national sovereignty and self-determination, gender inequality, and political legitimacy in the context of Eastern Europe’s particular experience. Ironically, she finds that the Catholic Church, which nurtured Natural Law theory, has obstructed the realization of the liberal project in Poland. Conversely, she identifies the Czech Republic as having managed as well as any state in the region to embrace the liberal project. She also explores the limitations to classical liberalism and argues for the extension of liberal principles to encompass the rights of women and protection of all species as well as the environment.
Political theorists, political scientists, students of Eastern Europe, and those interested in the larger questions of political philosophy will be richly rewarded in their reading of this fine volume by a renowned scholar of Eastern European politics.