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

By Simon Smith | Go to book overview

Preface
This collection of studies grew out of a workshop held in M❼henice near Prague in April 2001, where early versions of the chapters were presented as papers in an informal and relaxed setting which allowed us to devote considerable time to free discussion of a number of related themes. The workshop was hosted by my friend Jiří Holub, lecturer in political science at Charles University in Prague, who has a summer house in M❼henice and is a member of the local sports club where we held the event. The very setting called for our engagement with the issue of local community responses to social transformation: M❼henice is a village faced with the challenge of maintaining or adapting an identity tied up with patterns of work and leisure and action spaces which had evolved and stabilised during the communist era (though some aspects can be traced further back in time). Its position within the living space of a different type of society is uncertain. In a sense it is undergoing a necessary crisis invoked by the lifestyle changes brought on by marketisation and democratisation: what does the future hold for a recreational 'colony' near Prague? Can it retain and revive an autonomous civic and cultural life? Can it generate visions and projects which will enable it to prosper in the new conditions? What kind of organisational traditions will enable or hinder its adaptation? How have social relations and public discourses altered? Into what wider networks are local actors becoming integrated (or excluded from)? M❼henice, as it were, crystallised many of the questions which interested us as sociologists concerned with the diffusion of structural changes within a society made up of real human actors.Following the workshop I invited each of the participants to re-work their contributions to address two general questions seen as central to local community development and organisational transformation at this stage in the emergence of a post-communist social order:
How have pre-existing sources of social and cultural capital been deployed by actors involved in or affected by social transformation?
Have adaptive responses by social actors to the pressures of social transformation at the micro-level contributed to or blocked the expansion of civic and political participation in the wider social context?

-xi-

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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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