Bastiat, N: Polish Democratization 1989-1997: Religion's Amb
Scholars have already debated about the possible links between religions and democratization, but no clear argument about how exactly, and through which paths, religion can influence this transformation process has been made. In this study, I argue that in the case study of Poland, religion shows to have been highly influential during both the democratic transition and consolidation. Yet, this influence also shows to develop through the different stages and proves to be very ambivalent. During the transition, religion - most of all religious actors- have proven to be very supportive with the Solidarity movement, but was also a moral leader of the population. Moreover, the government seemed to see it as legitimate to give religion an important role both in the society and in the political institutions during this post-communistic time. The consolidation process however turned religion's role in a very ambiguous one: even if the "religiosity" (to be understood here as the faith of people in God and catholic values) of the population remained important, the role of religious actors and the presence of religion in politics became less accepted and therefore lost some of its legitimacy
Natacha Bastiat is currently a masters candidate in international relations and European integration at the University of Konstanz. Her areas of expertise are: post-conflict development, gender issues, women's rights and regional integration. Besides her studies, she is working with the CWGER (UNDP) on gender issues in post-crisis environment.
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