facilitate and structure (see Čambáliková 1992:71). This 'back-to-front' development, in which a tripartite council emerged not as an historic compromise following a period of conflict between unions and capital or the state, but as a 'preventive' institution in anticipation of possible future conflict (Mansfeldová 1997:104), produced for unions a temporary imbalance between influence and legitimacy, which was subsequently slowly restored. ČMKOS and KOZ SR, the two countries' main union confederations, are now possibly stronger as organisations than they might have been if they had been forced to secure influence from the start by demonstrating their strength through mobilising a labour interest, but trade unions as 'intersubjective communities' are undoubtedly different due to their unorthodox post-revolutionary regeneration, a fact which is evident from a comparision with Polish experience, where the post-communist state has not embraced corporatist solutions to the same extent (Smith 2000). Which of them produces a more 'representative' pattern of interest organisation? Przeworski et al. argue that the preservation of some aspects of a 'state corporatist' format following a regime transition may be beneficial if the alternative of 'a sudden shift to a purely voluntaristic … format could jeopardise the very existence of some organised interests' (1995:56). The higher rates of unionisation in the Czech and Slovak Republics compared with other post-communist countries offer some support to this argument, but the relative long-term strength of different organisations is hard to predict.
Anti-myths are also narrative devices enabling actors to reconcile themselves with disorder, but on a different basis. Instead of stimulating the vision of a new order, they rationalise the irreversibility of the fall into chaos. They thus legitimise a fatalistic approach to social reality, an orientation on short-term gains and an unwillingness to bear sacrifices, which are irrational if the 'myth' of an eventual restoration of order is incredible (Kabele 1998:317–18).
It is obvious that agricultural or certain types of industrial communities have greatest difficulty adapting to macro-economic transformation, because its institutional consequences (above all unemployment) are particularly destructive for them. But is their low adaptive capacity linked also to an inability to narrativise change? Majerová identified as a characteristic attitude among manual agricultural workers 'a rejection of any kind of changes … and a demand for the preservation of the same work in the same enterprise under the same conditions' (1999:245). This intransigence could be related, she suggests, to low levels of educational attainment, a deficit in civic organisational skills, and also to the strong social control mechanisms which prevail in a village setting and which render more visible illegitimacies and inequities in the privatisation process. For these reasons agricultural communities constitute a cultural milieu which is resistant to the heroic mythologisation of privatisation and marketisation and at the same time poorly equipped with the communication skills necessary to express alternative transformation narratives.
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Baethge, M. (1997) 'Introduction', in Baethge, M., Adamski, W. and Greskovits, B. (eds) Social Structures in the Making. Sisyphus Social Studies vol. X, Warsaw: IFiS: 7–13.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
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: 218.
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