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

By Simon Smith | Go to book overview

4
The development of the environmental non-governmental movement in Slovakia
The Slovak Union of Nature and Landscape Conservationists
Mikuláš Huba

Introduction

The history of the Slovak Union of Nature and Landscape Conservationists (SZOPK), because it spans the communist and post-communist periods, illustrates some common problems affecting social organisations, and particularly non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faced with the collapse of one set of macro-social institutions and the need to reintegrate into the qualitatively different institutional environment which is slowly emerging from the ruins of communism. Such a process of re-adaptation throws up a series of dichotomous choices for collective social actors: continuity versus discontinuity; autonomy versus greater institutionalisation; centralisation versus decentralisation; 'big' versus 'small-scale' politics. Organisational traditions are important here, as are the new opportunities and constraints imposed by new political, social and economic conditions, especially new opportunities for NGOs to fulfil an information-generating function and thereby contribute to the governance and self-governance of society. A hitherto unthinkable degree of self-determination and self-reflection is apparent – and arguably necessary – if an existing organisation is to survive or a new one establish itself. Organisations are ultimately accountable to their members or adherents, legitimised and reproduced insofar as experiences of belonging, participation, solidarity or empowerment are valued by a critical mass of individuals involved in the life of the organisation. In a real sense the internal transformation of SZOPK therefore represents a test-case for the success of the 'great transformation' of post-communist societies, a measure, above all, of its participativeness – whether and how it is 'lived out' by grassroots actors; and whether social movements are on the one hand accepted as legitimate players in political decision-making and on the other hand able to establish a creative balance between utilising institutional channels of in uence and reproducing 'alternative' identities.

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

Table of contents

  • Basees/Routledgecurzon Series on Russian and East European Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • 1 - Sociological Readings of Post-Communist Lifeworlds 1
  • Notes 13
  • Bibliography 14
  • 2 - Civil Society and Political Parties in the Czech Republic 19
  • Bibliography 39
  • 3 - Agents for Community Self-Determination? Experiences of Local Actors 41
  • Notes 85
  • Bibliography 89
  • 4 - The Slovak Union of Nature and Landscape Conservationists 92
  • Notes 103
  • 5 - Electronics Industry Workers in Slovakia 1995–2000 105
  • Notes 123
  • Bibliography 124
  • 6 - Case Studies from the Electronics Industry 126
  • Notes 141
  • 7 - The Czech Republic 1990–2000 143
  • Notes 158
  • Bibliography 159
  • 8 - Civic Potential as a Differentiating Factor in the Development of Local Communities 161
  • Bibliography 182
  • 9 - Group Strategies of Local Communities in Slovakia Facing Social Threats 184
  • Bibliography 205
  • 10 - The Narrativisation of Social Transformation 206
  • Notes 216
  • Bibliography 218
  • Index 221
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