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Civic activism as a moral narrative of helping: The analysis of meaning-making in civic engagement

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Popis The paper examines civic activism as individual work and explores how civic activists understand their working practices. Specifically, the study looks at the debates about the definition and protection of the family performed by conservative pro-life and liberal LGBTI activists in Slovakia. It draws on the Strong Program in cultural sociology (Alexander, Smith) and focuses on meaning-making processes as cognitive, moral and emotional realm (Jaspers). The analysis is based on the semi-structured interviews with civic activists of both LGBTI and pro-life civic sector and sheds light on the moral narrative of helping. This narrative is further analyzed as the focal point in meaning-making processes of activists. Moreover, it also plays a crucial role in the ideological conflict between LGBTI and pro-life activists. It is shown how these activists actively contest and undermine the constitutive meanings of the opponents’ narrative in order to express their opposition and/or discredit them.