To what extent are the social bases of political divisions in former communist societies consistent with those observed in Western democracies? This review critically examines theoretical and empirical work on social cleavages in East European, post-communist societies. It considers the initial wave of hypotheses concerning the structuring of party support in the region and examines empirical evidence on the patterning of the social bases of political preferences that have accrued subsequently, as well as the somewhat sparser attempts at explaining the processes through which these patterns emerge and change. It points to the omissions and weaknesses of the analyses so far conducted and concludes that the post-communist era has seen the emergence of social bases to politics that are like those in the West and that help shape variations in patterns of party competition in these societies.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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