Some analagous problems – in terms of a failure to cope with modernisation in its full complexity, in which the main shortcomings relate to blocked political modernisation – undoubtedly exist in contemporary Czech and Slovak society. As Myant points out in the following chapter, the Czech debate on civil society typically still clings to a simplistic dualistic understanding of the term (according to him both the Klausist and Havelian versions are open to criticisms of reductionism) which has limited relevance to societies characterised by 'diverse centres of power'. With this in mind, one way of reformulating the post-communist 'problem' is to focus normatively on a shift between different types of civil society: from the almost privatised expressions associated with the 'second society', through the mobilised forms which opposed communist regimes in 1989 towards socially integrative, semi-institutionalised forms associated with democratic regimes, yet without succumbing to post-revolutionary tendencies towards an extreme demobilisation (Linz and Stepan 1996:7–9). The goal is a civil society capable of sustaining and balancing two complementary processes – the articulation or reproduction of collective identities and their political representation; or, as Castoriadis puts it, the operations of the 'instituted' society and the work of the 'instituting imaginary', through which actors constantly make and remake the former at the same time as it makes them (1997:271). The issue is how existing sources of social capital and human potential can be recombined, via forms of political representation sophisticated enough to mobilise and channel rather than thwart and marginalise their innovatory impulses, in order to generate movements towards that goal.
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Publication information: Book title: Local Communities and Post-Communist Transformation: Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Contributors: Simon Smith - Editor. Publisher: Routledge Courzon. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 13.
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