The article challenges the hypothesis that there is cohabitation of civic engagement and democratic institutions and practices. While valid at a general level, the relationship is not confirmed once it is scrutinized thoroughly and heterogeneous categories are disaggregated. For the European post-Communist cases, the pattern of the relationship between the regime type and the propensity to associate closely resembles the one in Latin mature democracies and non-authoritarian countries, provided that voluntary associations are chosen as measurements of vitality of social capital and robustness of civil society. A possible consequence of this provocative finding would be re-evaluating the well-established concepts in social sciences.

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