Cover Osteuropa 10/2005

In Osteuropa 10/2005

Good and Bad Informality?
Informal Politics in the West and in the East

Silvia von Steinsdorff

Deutsche Fassung


Informal processes play a key role in politics. The bandwidth reaches from work in constitutionally unforeseen advisory commissions and corruption to mafia-like practises. Informality occurs wherever formal institutions reveal a deficit in performance. Whether informal practices are functional or dysfunctional for boosting the formal institutions’ efficiency is controversial and depends on the measure applied. Often, the measure is liberal democracy based on rule of law. Informal practises in Central and Eastern Europe have their own character. They feed on the legacy of centralised socialism and the side-effects of the transformation process. The concept of legitimacy, so far neglected, offers a means of analysing and assessing informal politics in the East.

(Osteuropa 10/2005, pp. 5–16)