Publication details

Local Cleavages, Politics and Policy at the Local Level – Is the Depolitization Real?

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BALÍK Stanislav

Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Sociální studia
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Field Political sciences
Keywords local self-government; local policy; local cleavages; Czech Republic
Description The aim of this article is to identify gaps in considering local self-government as an inherently primarily non-political or anti-political area. The concept of local cleavages, which is based on the theory of cleavages of Stein Rokkan and Seymour M. Lipset, is then presented. The author shows eleven potential cleavages which can be observed in Czech local politics. Six of them are clearly based on the local level: the development contradiction, the origin contradiction, the geographic contradiction, the clubs contradiction, the citizen vs. community contradiction, the contradiction about the extent of functions of the municipality. Another four cleavages are derived from the national level: religious cleavage, socialeconomic cleavage, the post-materialism cleavage, cleavage related to legacies of the old regime. The final one shares the logic of those at the national level, but doesn’t fit the Lipset and Rokkan model: namely, the gender contradiction. The article shows that politics has disappeared from the local level only in a declaratory way but not in reality. Under various labels such as independency, non-partisanship and expertness, the illusion of non-interest is created and maintained. However, local policy is not without interests; in fact, it is a political area in every sense of the word.
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