Dragoman 4/2009

Sociologie Românească, Vol. VII, no. 4/2009, pp. 107-123.




Trust, reciprocity and volunteerism: Explaining low political activism in post-communist Romania

Dragoş Dragoman*


*‘Lucian Blaga’ University of Sibiu


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Abstract: This article analyzes some of the reasons why political participation in Romania, although structurally comparable with other Western cases, is much weaker. Using survey data, the article tests for three main blocks of variables that are supposedly important for political participation, including human capital, economic resources and context variables, motivations and, finally, social capital variables. The analysis focuses on social capital factors, which are civic volunteerism and social trust. The conclusion is that social capital is important for political activism and that civic activists in the long run may become a resource both for the rebirth of a public space and for effective mechanisms of control of political elites in Romania.

Keywords: Political activism; Trust; Volunteerism; Reciprocity; Post-communism; Romania.

Cuvinte-cheie: activism politic, adevăr, voluntarism, reciprocitate, post-comunism, România.