Informace o publikaci

Dreams of Civil Society Twenty Years After: The Case of the Czech Republic



Rok publikování 2013
Druh Článek ve sborníku
Konference Democratization, Marketization, and the Third Sector. Conference Working Papers Series - Volume VIII - Siena, Italy, 2012
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Ekonomicko-správní fakulta

Obor Politologie a politické vědy
Klíčová slova civil society, Czech Republic, dissidents, advocacy activities
Popis Czech dissidents in the 1980's developed the concept of civil society not only as an antidote to the oppressive communist regime of the day but also as part of a political programme for the time after the fall of the communism. They dreamt of a societal arrangement in which civil society would act as 'the best antidote to dictatorship and the demagogy of mass ideologies' (Tesař) and where 'the ongoing civic engagement of citizens and their organisations and representatives' (Havel) would contribute to politics that was no longer 'politics as the technology of power and manipulation' but politics 'as service to the community' (Havel). Have these dreams come true? Do Czech civil society organisations fulfil the role of significant societal actors, do they contribute to politics by expressing people’s concerns and grievances and by mediating their demands to the opinion and policy makers? Have they become strong advocates of people’s aspirations that people trust and make use of? In order to operationalize the main research question of how civil society organisations (CSOs) today fulfil the role of mediators between the grass roots and the political elites that Havel and other dissident authors dreamt about in the 1980’s, we decided to explore one important aspect of the complex problem, namely the embeddedness of these organisations in society. Our research focus was the advocacy activities of civil society, and we studied the interactions citizens-CSOs and CSOs-state. What interested us most was to what degree CSOs involved citizens in the process of identifying their goals, how they did or did not involve them in their campaigns, and to what degree they represented citizens’ authentic interests.

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