The emergence of interest group politics is one of the decisive factors in democratic transformation in post-communist society. Stephen Padgett argues that evidence from eastern Germany suggests that market transition produces rather open and fluid societies, in which group interests and identities are tenuous. Lacking a supportive social infrastructure, interest groups operate on 'entrepreneurial' lines, a form of associational activity which falls far short of pluralist ideals. With its accelerated transition to a market economy, eastern Germany provides a 'fast-forward' study of an 'advanced post-communist society' which enables us to anticipate the social structures and issues shaping interest-group politics in the newly-democratizing states of east-central Europe. Examining a number of different interest groups, and comparing a number of countries across east-central Europe, this book may also offer a vision of the future of interest-group politics in the West.
'This is an insightful, lucid volume that not only presents a wealth of information but also stands as a fine example of multidimensional, yet economical, social scientific analysis ... this is a fine volume that contributes much to our understanding of democracy and associational life in eastern Germany and east/central Europe. It raises provocative questions and casts doubt upon some of the more cherished notions about the future of democracy in this politically and economically significant region. given its clarity, the volume is appropriate not only for professionals and graduate students but also for undergraduates.' German Politics and Society