Civil Society and social movements in post-communist Europe
|Dr. Mihai Varga
The seminar combines theoretical texts on civil society and social movements with important examples of collective action in post-communist Europe. In the social sciences „civil society“ is expected to play an important role in strengthening democracies (A. de Toqueville, A. Gramsci) or in limiting the negative effects of markets (M. Castells, K. Polanyi). Against this background, research casts a negative light on civil society in the post-communist area: civil society is generally seen as weak, with the exception of the so-called ”uncivil“ society, mobilizing against the values of liberal democracies. Seeing civil society from the perspective of social movement theory, the seminar helps contextualize and explain the rise of the “uncivil“ society and the weakness of civil society’s liberal component. Cases to be discussed in class include: the NGO-sector and the international „democratization industry“, the role of intellectual „dissidents“, Solidarnosc in Poland, „cultural“ movements – both conservative (in Poland) and anarchist (Voina, in Russia), far-right movements in Russia and Poland, Otpor in Serbia and its global model for peaceful revolutions.