Local Communities and Post-Communist Transformation: Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia

By Simon Smith | Go to book overview
popularity had faded by the end of the decade, 'its role and place taken by a more ideologically oriented democratization approach with its exclusive practice in basic macro-political changes'. By the mid-1990s, following the completion of the most important institution-building processes, the modernisation approach made a return as social scientists found they lacked a theory to deal with 'more complex socio-technical changes' (1998:212–13). This periodicity is not so clear in Czech and Slovak sociology, where the modernisation approach has remained strongly represented from at least the mid-1980s and throughout the 1990s.
5
In one paper Potůček refers unashamedly to the 'doctrine drawing on the theoretical concept of the cultivation and application of human potential' as an alternative transformation strategy to the 'neoliberal political doctrine' (1994:44, emphasis added).
6
Ironically this was one of the arguments used by the Slovak government to justify the decision to return only a narrow range of property to municipal authorities and thus perpetuate local councils' financial dependence on fiscal transfers from central government (Sopóci 1992b: 40).
7
In his chapter, Myant notes the superficially puzzling adoption by former Czech Prime Minister Václav Klaus of an anti-communist rhetoric in contradiction to the pragmatism which flowed from his belief in the free market. One explanation is that for him it represented a necessary myth which sustained a dependency relationship between society and a centralised state manned by a narrow political elite. The moment when the mode of narrativisation was to shift from the domination of such meta-narratives to more participative discursive processes accessible to actors at lower levels would represent a threat to the types of post-communist elite epitomised by Klaus's Civic Democratic Party with its disdain for civil society.
8
These authors thus concur with Stark and Szelenyi among 'western' analysts in understanding social transformation in terms of 'recombinations' rather than the classical concepts of revolution and evolution, and they likewise diverge from classical sociology, 'the thrust [of which] was to argue that modern capitalism was so all encompassing that it erased its origins' (Burawoy 2000:4, 12). However the sociological paradigm which I am suggesting can be discerned here also has common points with the revisionist 'postsocialist' account of state socialist societies' potentialities particularly the potentialities embodied in localised subaltern life-worlds, revealed by 'ethnographies of everyday life' which Burawoy calls for (2000:24, 30).

Bibliography

Ágh, A. (1998) The Politics of Central Europe, London: Sage.

Benda, V. (1990) 'Paralelní polis' in Prečan, V. (ed.) Charta 77 1977–1989. Od morální k demokratické revoluci, Bratislava: ARCHA: 43–50.

'Beseda za okrúhlym stolom redakcie: Sociológia a urbanizmus' (1984) Sociológia vol. 16 no. 3: 331–46.

Blažek, B. (1982) Manuál komunikačních a prognostických her, Prague: Sportpropag.

Blažek, B. (1998) Venkov mU+277sta média, Prague: SLON.

Boguszak, M., Gabal, I. and MatU+277jů, P.(1990) 'Ke koncepcím sociální struktury v ČSSR (1)', Sociologický časopis vol. 26: 168–86.

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