Lenka Buštíková grew up in Prague and holds a PhD in political science from Duke University and MA degrees from Charles University, Central European University, and Harvard University. She is Associate Professor in European Union and Comparative East European Politics at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on party politics, voting behaviour, clientelism, and state capacity, with special reference to Eastern Europe. Her book, Extreme Reactions: Radical Right Mobilization in Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press), demonstrates that far right parties mobilize against politically ascendant minorities. It received the Davis Center Book Prize in political and social studies (2020). Her co-authored section Defection Denied assesses theories about wartime attitudes toward militant groups in Dagestan using survey experiments.
She is the recipient of the 2015 Best Article Prize, awarded by the American Political Science Association's European Politics and Society Section, for her article "Revenge of the Radical Right". She has also received the 2017 Best Paper Prize, awarded by the American Political Science Association's Comparative Democratization Section, for her paper "Patronage, Trust and State Capacity: The Historical Trajectories of Clientelism", co-authored with Cristina Corduneanu-Huci. Her research has been supported by the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research.
She is currently serving as an editor of East European Politics, Cambridge Elements Series on the Politics and Society in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and is an incoming editor of Routledge Studies on Political Parties and Party Systems.
What are the social origins of illiberal rule? What are the sources of democratic resilience? This project investigates current theories about the roots of illiberal attitudes, specifically with regard to state-church relations, democracy, the economy, ethnic and sexual minorities. Using new experimental data from four Central European countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia), the study finds that respondents overwhelmingly support teaching Christianity in schools, are dissatisfied with democracy, support economic paternalism and state regulation of ethnic relations, and oppose same-sex marriage. However, these attitudes are nuanced insofar as they indicate support for illiberal policies without explicit xenophobia, homophobia, and religious intolerance. For instance, while most respondents do not hold a particularly hostile view toward the LGBT community, they do overwhelmingly oppose same-sex marriage. Similarly, with regard to state-church relations, most respondents do not want the church to meddle in politics, but a significant proportion of respondents in all four countries do support a Christian-based curriculum in schools. By offering a rigorous examination of original experimental data on the social roots of these attitudes, the study aims to shed some new light on major debates about the origins of illiberalism and potential sources of resilience against democratic decay.